Local leaders impact our lives every day. 

Elected officials in New York City make decisions that impact jobs, housing, healthcare, education, and more. 

That’s why it’s important to not only know who the candidates are, but also what their jobs would be if elected. 

What Do City Offices Do?

The Mayor is the leader of our city government. They serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:  

  • Propose the city’s budget
  • Sign or veto bills passed by the City Council
  • Appoint leaders to city agencies, including the Schools Chancellor and Police Commissioner 
  • Set priorities and policy for city agencies
  • Manage city land, impacting affordable housing, public parks, and street cleaning

Fun Fact: Robert Anderson Van Wyck was the first Mayor to take office after the 5 boroughs consolidated into the City of New York in 1898.

The Public Advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council. They serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:

  • If the Mayor leaves office, the Public Advocate will act as Mayor until a special election is held
  • Introduce and co-sponsor bills in the City Council
  • Provide oversight for city agencies
  • Investigate citizens’ complaints about city services

Fun fact: The Public Advocate keeps a Worst Landlord Watchlist to help protect tenants.

The Comptroller manages the city’s finances and assures the city’s financial health. They serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:

  • Audit city agencies and contracts 
  • Prevent abuses in contracting
  • Manage budgets, city investments like trust and pension funds, and bonds
  • Advise the Mayor and City Council on the city’s financial condition

Fun Fact: NYC has an estimated budget of $92 billion, which is more than the GDP of most countries!

The Borough President serves as an advocate for their borough. They serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:

  • Consult with the Mayor on the annual budget
  • Provide grants to local organizations
  • Advise on rezoning
  • Appoint representatives to the City Planning Commission and Community Boards

Fun Fact: Borough presidents are affectionately referred to as “beeps.”

The City Council is the legislative, or law-making, branch of New York City’s government. There are 51 members. Councilmembers serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:

  • Introduce and vote on bills
  • Negotiate and approve the City’s budget
  • Monitor city agencies
  • Make decisions about the growth and development of our city 

Fun Fact: In 1937, Genevieve B. Earle became the first woman elected to the New York City Council.

*Council members elected in 2021 will serve a 2-year term. Following the 2020 census, City Council districts will be redrawn to adjust for changes in population. In 2023, candidates will run for a 2-year term in the newly redrawn districts. In 2025, 4-year council terms will resume.

What Do State & County Offices Do?

The District Attorney is the top prosecutor for their county. They serve for 4 years. There are no term limits.

What they do:

  • Decide which cases to prosecute (and which not to)
  • Oversee all criminal prosecutions
  • Investigate and prosecute criminal conduct

Fun fact: NYC Voters can choose their own DAs! Some states appoint their own without an election.

The State Senate is the upper chamber of the State Legislature. There are 63 members. State Senators serve two-year terms, with no term limits.

  • Writes and votes on legislation
  • Approves state spending levels
  • Upholds or overrides the Governor’s vetoes
  • Confirms the Governor's appointments of state officials and court judges

Fun fact: On the official Senate seal, Lady Liberty can be seen holding her foot on the overthrown English Crown.

The State Assembly is the lower chamber of the State Legislature. There are 150 members. Members serve two-year terms, with no term limits.

  • Writes and votes on legislation
  • Approves state spending levels
  • Upholds or overrides the Governor’s vetoes

Fun fact: Two U.S. Presidents have served in the State Assembly: Millard Fillmore and Teddy Roosevelt.

Justices of the NYS Supreme Court oversee large felony and civil cases within their districts. The Supreme Court is the trial court in New York State; the Court of Appeals is the highest court. They serve 14-year terms.

  • Presides over divorce, separation, and annulment proceedings. 
  • Handles criminal prosecutions of felonies
  • Decides civil matters over $25,000

Fun Fact: The New York State Supreme Court was established in 1691, making it one of the oldest courts in the United States.

Civil Court Judges can represent counties or districts, so you may see more than one Civil Court judge on your ballot. Judges are elected to 10-year terms and hear cases including:

  • Civil matters up to $25,000 
  • Landlord-tenant matters and cases involving maintenance of housing standards
  • Criminal prosecution of misdemeanors

Fun Fact: The NYC Civil Court is the largest civil jurisdiction court in the United States.

Surrogate Court judges decide cases involving the estates of county residents after their death. They serve terms of 14 years and hear cases including:

  • Cases involving the affairs of the deceased such as wills and the administration of estates 
  • Adoptions 
  • Guardianships

Fun Fact: The beautiful building where the surrogate court is housed is located in downtown Manhattan and is a popular filming location for movies and tv. It’s designated as a historical landmark.

Find my representatives

Meet My Current Representatives

Visit this collaboration between CUNY and the League of Women Voters to find out who represents you!

Find my representatives

Key Dates

  • Early Voting

    Sat, October 23, 2021 - Sun, October 31, 2021
  • General Election Day

    Tue, November 2, 2021