A Third of NYC Races Were Uncontested

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The strength of a democratic government is in its citizens’ ability to choose their representatives. But if the choices are limited, is the process truly democratic?

On Election Day–Tuesday, November 4–more than a third of all races for seats in the New York State Legislature, 74 out of 213, feature a candidate running unopposed. The same holds true when you zoom in on New York City, where 21 of 63 races are uncontested.

Looking at this startling democratic mutation, Gotham Gazette spoke with experts seeking answers as to why such a phenomenon exists and what can be done to make New York elections more competitive. The theory goes, of course, that more competition for office moves candidates to further engage with voters, explain specific policy positions, and remain more accountable to constituents if victorious.

While many districts will have no race next Tuesday, several will have races that are contests in name only. City Limits talked to voters in a Bronx Senate district where the incumbent has both the Democratic and Republican lines and faces only a third-party opponent.

And we also compiled resources for voters in uncontested districts who want to do a little research on the candidates that are guaranteed to win.

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