As voters' focus on next year’s presidential contest intensifies, we want to take a moment to remind you there is an election coming up in just a few weeks across New York City on Tuesday, November 5th. This will be the first time New York voters can cast their ballots early—and it will be the second time voters pick a public advocate this year. To help get you in the voting mood, here’s a quick overview of when and where to vote and what will be on the ballot.

What’s the deal with early voting?

State lawmakers approved early voting legislation at the very start of the year. New York State now joins 38 other states and the District of Columbia with some form of this policy. This year, voting will begin on Saturday, October 26th at 10 AM.

Wait, we can vote on a Saturday?

That’s right! Polls will be open on two weekends starting Saturday, October 26th through Sunday, November 3rd. The hours of the early voting sites are different than on Election Day so you should really check the New York City Board of Elections website the day you plan to vote. Poll sites will close on Monday, November 4th and then open across the city for the general election on Tuesday November 5th.

If I’m voting early, do I just go where I always go to vote?

NO, you do not. Voters across New York City have all been assigned to an early voting site based on guidelines set by the state Board of Elections and decisions made by the city’s ten Board of Elections commissioners. Initially the city Board of Elections proposed 38 early voting sites, but a backlash from city leaders brought the final tally for this election up to 61 sites.

If you haven’t already, you will receive a mailer from the City Board of Elections with your early voting site information. Or you can go online to and find your site there. That will also tell you where you will vote if you chose to wait until Election Day.

For whom or what am I voting?

For the second time this year, voters citywide will vote for Public Advocate. The position is currently held by former Brooklyn City Councilmember Jumaane Williams. He was elected in a special election back in February, beating 16 other candidates. But under current law, he needs to run again in the general election to fill the balance of the term which runs through 2021. Williams faces a challenge from Republican City Councilmember Joe Borelli from Staten Island, though he has not exactly been mounting a vigorous campaign. Worth noting: Borelli co-sponsored a bill to abolish this office. (Borelli told Pix 11 that if he wins, he will either reform the office or abolish it.)

In Queens, voters will pick their District Attorney. You may recall that incredibly close Democratic primary in June, which Queens Borough President Melinda Katz won by just 60 votes. She now runs in the general election facing Joe Murray on the Republican line. He’s a former police officer turned criminal defense attorney and also, currently, a registered Democrat.

There will also be various judicial positions open in certain jurisdictions, and of course, the five Charter Revision ballot questions.

The what?

The City Charter is the body of local laws that govern New York City. The job of this commission was to review them and bring them up to date. For the first time in the city’s history, this charter revision commission was neither entirely appointed by the Mayor or at the direction of the State Legislature. The Mayor and City Council Speaker each appointed four members, and one each by the Public Advocate, Comptroller, and each Borough President, for a total of 15.

This group held dozens of public hearings on various topics. Ultimately, they narrowed down all that input to these 5 ballot questions which actually include a total of 19 proposals.

For example, Question 1 is related to elections. One of the major proposals would bring what’s called ranked choice voting to all primaries and special elections for city offices. Instead of picking one candidate, you could rank up to five candidates on the ballot. Also under elections: a proposal to change the amount of time between when a vacancy occurs and special election is held. A third proposal that would make changes to the City Council redistricting process.

You won’t get to pick and choose among those three proposals, they are all part of one ballot question with a straight up or down vote.

We’ll have more stories on the ballot questions themselves in the weeks to come. But for now, if you go to you will find a ton of information, including the specifics of each question and even a calendar of information sessions if you want to listen to people explain each one (because if you’ve read this far, that might just be your thing).

Brigid Bergin is the City Hall and politics reporter for WNYC. You can follow her on Twitter at @brigidbergin.

Listen to Brigid Bergin's radio report on the upcoming election below.