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Candidates Who Win City Council Seats Will Serve Two-Year Terms–Not Four

Voters cast their ballot at a polling site in Queens (Michael Appleton/ Mayoral Photography Office)

June 22, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Candidates on the ballot for City Council seats are competing for a two-year term—not the four-year term members normally serve.

Council members elected this year will complete a two-year term for the first time in two decades due to a provision in the city charter related to the census.

The provision mandates that every 20 years, terms are reduced from four years to two years to coincide with the redrawing of council districts.

The recent 2020 census will cause the city to reconfigure the borders of council districts based on changes in population.

The provision for a two-year term was introduced many years ago to allow candidates to challenge incumbents based on the new district borders.

Council candidates who win the November general election, therefore, will need to run again in 2023 for another two-year term.

Then in 2025, normal four-year council terms will resume.

The term changes only apply to city council members. Winners of city- and borough-wide offices like the mayor, comptroller, public advocate and borough presidents will serve four year terms ending in 2025.

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