Three Things in Play in New York’s Elections

Political observers plan to keep tabs on early voting, President Trump’s impact on down ballots and the role of minor parties as races are called

In 2016, problems with state-level election polls left some voters surprised by the outcome. Since then, many pollsters have made changes in the hope of accurately capturing the mood of the country ahead of the 2020 election. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann

Millions of dollars and thousands of hours that have been expended on this year’s elections will culminate when polls close on Tuesday.

In addition to the presidential contest between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, voters in the Empire State will choose members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the New York state Senate and Assembly as well as various local offices.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Here are three things to watch:

The early vote

An unprecedented number of New Yorkers have already cast their ballots, thanks to a nine-day early voting period and less-stringent requirements to submit an absentee ballot by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. As of this weekend, just over 40% of the number of people who voted in the 2016 election had cast their ballots.

Through Oct. 27, more than 2.5 million voters requested absentee ballots and just over 1 million have mailed them back, according to State Board of Elections spokeswoman Cheryl Couser. Those numbers will rise: New Yorkers can apply in-person for an absentee ballot through the end of Monday, and completed ballots can be received until Nov. 10, provided they are postmarked by Nov. 3.

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