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Goldman Sachs CEO to employees: Don't forget party switch date for NYC primary

David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs,

David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, recently sent an email to employees that called attention to the "key primary election" on June 22 in NYC. Credit: CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag/Tom Williams

The business community’s push to affect the New York City mayoral primary is heating up, with one of the city’s biggest players making a move to make sure its employees eligible to vote.

In a Monday email to employees, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO David Solomon called attention to the "key primary election" on June 22, featuring nomination contests for mayor, comptroller, and City Council. Solomon also sent along some very specific information about upcoming deadlines.

"For those interested in exercising your right to vote in the primaries this summer, I would like to remind you that you must first declare a party affiliation before Sunday, February 14," said the email, obtained by The Point from a Goldman employee.

It is not in fact necessary for previously registered NYC voters to declare a party affiliation ahead of the primary — unless, of course, they are not already registered members of the party whose primary they want to vote in.

A registered Republican, third party or unaffiliated voter, for example, would need to switch their registration to Democrat in time to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary — often the main contest in citywide races where the number of Democrats dwarves the number of Republicans.

Some NYC business leaders, individually and in collaboration, are encouraging non-Democrats to make that switch in order to influence the hot Democratic mayoral. It’s possible that will be the only hotly contested mayoral game in town: Consider that Mayor Bill de Blasio won his multi-candidate primary by 100,000 votes in 2013, before winning the general by more than half a million.

"We have gone out on a campaign to register as many Democrats, not because of ideology — you can register back the next day — but because we want everyone to have a say in the election, to vote and have their vote count," Related Companies chief executive Jeff Blau said at a Thursday event, according to a Crain’s article this week.

"There’s never been a more important race on a local level," Blau added.

Solomon made a similar argument in the Goldman employee email.

"This is a crucial time for the city — New Yorkers all want to see the vibrant community they call home thrive once again," he wrote, adding that "many of our people feel passionately, as you did last November, about ensuring that your voice is heard as part of the democratic process."

Solomon’s email also highlights the deadline for new voter registration, May 28. But the email goes on to cast the switch deadline as a necessary one even though it wouldn’t apply to voters planning to cast a ballot in their registered parties: "Both steps are required to be eligible to vote and contribute to the path forward on the local issues that matter most to you."

Goldman spokesman Jake Siewert confirmed that Solomon sent the email, noting that employees were sent emails about important dates during the 2020 federal election cycle, and the company gave employees in the U.S. half a day off to vote. This email was sent early in the NYC cycle due to the upcoming deadlines, Siewert said, noting that given the realities of NY politics, "You have to assume that the Democratic primary is the critical election."

"If you want your voice heard and your vote to count you have to think about when your vote will really matter," Siewert said.

De Blasio, the outgoing progressive, sometimes drew criticism from business leaders for his relatively chilly reception to them and what they perceived as poor management, and Solomon has been among a collection of corporate-world denizens who have recently been going public with their concerns about pandemic-era NYC, from quality of life issues over the summer to the slow vaccine rollout this year.

It appears that Solomon’s voter encouragement heading into the June 22 primary will continue, too.

"As always, I am grateful for your engagement in our communities, and invite you to visit GSWeb to access non-partisan resources and reminders on the important steps to take in the next few weeks to make your vote count," the email ends.