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Special Election to Fill City Council Seat Vacated by Richards Set for February

Council Member Donovan Richards (Emil Cohen/ NYC Council Flickr)

Dec. 4, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The special election to fill the city council seat vacated by Donovan Richards is slated to take place at the end of February.

Mayor Bill de Blasio set the date for the special election for Tuesday, Feb. 23. Candidates will be vying to represent the 31st Council District — which covers Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.

The council seat became empty when former Richards left the position to become Queens borough president this week. Richards, who was term-limited, won the November general election for borough president and assumed office on Wednesday.

Residents can vote either in-person or via absentee ballot in the special election. The special election will be one of the first to employ ranked-choice voting in New York City.

The winner will assume office immediately and will only fill the seat until Dec. 31, 2021, when Richards’ term would have ended.

The winner is also likely to compete to serve a full term that starts Jan. 1, 2022. This involves a primary in June 2021 followed by the general election in November 2021.

There are 10 people in the running for the 2021 election, according to the NYC Campaign Finance Board. Three candidates — Latoya Benjamin, Franck Joseph and Richard’s former Chief of Staff, Manuel Silva — have already raised thousands of dollars.

These candidates are also likely to appear on the ballot for the special election.

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