Mayor sets Feb. 23 special election to fill Richards’ City Council seat

File photo/QNS

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday set a date for a special election to fill the City Council seat left vacant by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who was sworn in as the borough’s executive on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Residents can vote either in-person or via absentee ballot for the Feb. 23 special election to select Richards’ replacement in District 31, which covers Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.

The winner of the February special election will take office immediately and serve through December 2021, when Richards’ term was set to end. The winner will also likely be campaigning for the June primary for the seat and, if they win, the citywide general election in November.

There are 10 people who have already announced their candidacy for the 2021 City Council race in the district, all of whom will be eligible to run in the special election.

The candidates include Latoya Benjamin, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Monique Charlton, Latanya Collins, Franck Joseph, Nicole Lee, Nancy Martinez, Perri Pierre, Shawn Rux and Manuel Silva.

Richards, who first won the council seat in a special election, has represented the district since 2013.

Voters in the 31st District won’t be the only Queens voters casting their ballots in a special election in February.

Residents of City Council District 24, which encompasses Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Jamaica Hills and Jamaica, will vote to replace former Councilman Rory Lancman on Feb. 2. Lancman recently took a job with Governor Andrew Cuomo, now serving as the state’s special council for ratepayer protection.

Both races will see the implementation of ranked-choice voting, in which voters will pick their top five candidates, instead of just one.

In ranked-choice voting, the candidate who receives over 50 percent of the vote wins. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the last place candidate will be eliminated and the ballots in which they ranked first will go the candidate the voters respectively ranked second. The process will repeat until a candidate reaches the majority.

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