Photo: Giselle Medina.

NYC voters, make sure to flip over your ballot on Tuesday Nov. 8!  The front side of the ballot will list choices for governor, senators, and other local officials. The back will contain four important ballot proposals whose fate voters will decide.

Early voting began on Saturday, Oct. 29 and will extend through Nov. 6. South Bronx voters can cast their ballots at a number of locations across the area. Voters in Mott Haven, Melrose, Port Morris, Hunts Point and Longwood can find conveniently located poll sites in the 79th, 84th and 85th Assembly districts listed in the link. Voters can also type in their address on this link to find their nearest poll site. 

Here are brief descriptions of those ballot proposals:

#1: Environmental bond spending (statewide)

This question asks voters to approve $4.2 billion in state bonds to be allocated for climate change mitigation, clean water infrastructure, zero-emissions school buses, new and upgraded park/recreation space, flood risk abatement, and other projects to be decided on in the future.

#2: Values Statement for city government (city)

Question #2 would add a statement of vision and values to the City Charter. This statement would acknowledge historical wrongs of racism and injustice, explain how the city continues to grapple with these issues, and define the city as a “multiracial democracy” in which “diversity is our strength.”

#3: Commission on Racial Equity (city)

Question #3 would establish a new Commission on Racial Equity, with a chief equity officer appointed by the mayor. It would require all city agencies to write new Racial Equity Plans every two years, using data and community input to track progress and problems regarding racial justice.

#4: True cost of living (city)

Question #4 would require the city to update how the “true cost of living” is measured. The new calculation would not include public, private, or informal assistance as income. It would also take regional NYC costs into account for essentials such as housing, food, and childcare. This calculation helps inform important policy decisions.

The three citywide questions were developed with extensive community input by the Racial Justice Commission, which was formed under former Mayor Bill deBlasio. The environmental bond act was originally proposed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but it never made it to the ballot due to economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Gov. Kathy Hochul took over the initiative, adding another $1 billion of proposed funding, and the state Legislature authorized placing it on the ballot for voter approval.

Each of these questions requires a yes or no vote. If adopted, they promise to have a lasting impact on life in New York City.

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