Today is the deadline to register to vote in the June 25th New York State primary elections, register to vote here.
The June 25th primary includes the Kings County Surrogate’s Court race, which Gothamist thoroughly explains for us outsiders:
Little understood by outsiders, Surrogate’s Court is where wills and estates are settled, and where politically plugged-in lawyers can earn a killing on the estates of those who die without wills. In New York, it has been the site of particular patronage and abuse, especially in Queens County, where one lawyer who effectively runs the Queens Democratic Party can make millionsfrom the court each year. The last bastion of true political patronage is the local judicial system because party leaders still play a decisive role in electing judges.
Seddio, the Brooklyn Democratic leader, is himself a former surrogate’s court judge. He only served two years, stepping down in 2007 amid an ethics scandal concerning unspent campaign cash he funneled to political allies.
Brooklyn, though, is not quite Queens. There are two surrogate’s judges instead of one. Competitive judicial elections, for surrogate’s and beyond, are much more common.
López Torres serves with Harriet Thompson, a Norman ally who won last year. The lone Queens surrogate’s judge, Peter Kelly, ran unopposed in 2010; his sister was the chief of staff to Joe Crowley, the former congressman and Queens Democratic boss defeated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
One way the Brooklyn Democratic Party has played a dominant role in picking judges is through the so-called “backfill”—filling vacancies after judges move up to a higher court. In civil court, party leaders can choose a Democrat as the automatic nominee to fill a vacancy, avoiding a contested primary. In overwhelmingly Democratic Brooklyn, this is tantamount to an election victory.
The closest early voting site to Greenpoint and Williamsburg is at the Williamsburg Community Center (195 Graham Ave.), but the early voting sites will not be ready for the June 25th primary.