A Handy Ballot Guide For New York Voters Who Aren't Sure What's Going On

The big national news might be the presidential election, but voters across the country will be deciding on several national and local candidates on Election Day, not to mention state ballot measures. And while New Yorkers won't see any of the latter, they will be voting on who to send to the U.S. Senate; the House of Representatives; the State Senate and Assembly; and judges. Results from those races will have serious impact, both for New Yorkers and the nation.

New York voters will want to pay especially close attention to how they vote in two areas: the House of Representatives and the State Senate. Though most pundits have written off chances of the Democrats gaining control in the House as impossible, it does look like they may pick up several seats. And two of those could come from New York's 19th and 22nd districts, where the races are a dead heat.

Over in the New York Senate races, Democrats could also make gains, and if they pick up even two or three seats, control of the state senate will shift back to them. Republicans currently hold New York's senate, but are defending 24 of 25 competitive seats. That puts the odds pretty firmly in the Democrats' corner.

The Senate Race

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New York is a deep blue state, so the sitting Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, has little to worry about from his Republican opponent, Wendy Long. Provided he wins (he will), this will be Schumer's fourth consecutive term, meaning he's served in the Senate for 18 years to date. During his tenure, he worked alongside then-fellow NY Sen. Hillary Clinton, and is hoping to rekindle that close professional relationship, if Democrats win back control of the Upper Chamber. Schumer will become the new Senate Majority Leader should the Democrats pick up four seats and Clinton wins, or take back five seats if she loses to Trump. Stat-central site FiveThirtyEight says the odds are about even between Republicans and Democrats in their race for Senate control, so look for Schumer to be celebrating extra hard if his congressional branch swings back the Dems' way.

The House of Representatives Races

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Across the state, New Yorkers will elect 27 House Representatives, one for each of NY's districts. The Democrats currently hold 18 of those seats, to the Republicans' 9. Two of those seats qualified as "competitive" in Ballotpedia's analysis: the 19th and 22nd Districts, both of which are now held by Republicans. The 19th District race is between John Faso (R) and Zephyr Teachout (D). Faso is graduate of Georgetown's Law, and has worked in both the private and public sector. Teachout is the former director of the Sunlight Foundation, an organization that sought to make Washington politics more transparent.

The other competitive race is in District 22, where Kim Myers (D) is running against Claudia Tenney (R). Myers started a local children's clothing business, and is a former school board president, while Tenney also ran a small business and touts the rather unique distinction of having "published and produced the only Bosnian newspaper in Utica."

The State Senate Races

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The race for New York's State Senate is one that might make national news. Ballotpedia ranks it as one of the "battleground" chambers, meaning Republicans could be surrendering control to the Democrats come Jan. 2017. The Republicans are the current majority party due to a "power sharing agreement" with the Independent Democratic Conference. Technically speaking, they don't hold more seats than the Democrats. Control of New York's Senate has shifted between Republicans and Democrats several times over the last few elections, and may do so again on Nov. 8. Out of 25 competitive openings, 24 are currently held by Republicans, which means the odds are definitely not in their favor for maintaining Senate control. To learn more, Ballotpedia provides a full list of candidates for every NY district.

As far as the Assembly, all 150 seats will be determined on Nov. 8. But any major change to the Assembly makeup is highly unlikely. Democrats currently hold 105 seats to the Republicans' 42, and there is no indication that any major upheaval is underway. To learn more, Ballotpedia has put together a full list of New York Assembly races.

Local Judges

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A number of judges are up for election, on district Supreme courts, New York City civil courts, and a number of other courts throughout the state. Voters will only see the judges running in their district, so knowing the local election map is crucial. Ballotpedia has a full list of judiciary candidates for the New Yorker looking to be thoroughly informed on Election Day.