Members of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and officials from the United Federation of Teachers hit the streets today campaigning for Assemblymember Mike Miller in the 38th District.
“When an elected official like Mike stands up for his constituents, we hope on election day his constituents stand up for him,” said Dermot Smyth, Queens political action coordinator for the UFT.
With low voter turnout expected for a primary held on a Thursday, Smyth said every teacher in the area was contacted, letting them know to get out and cast a ballot.
“People want legislators to be honest and keep to their word. If they say they’re going to do something and they do it, then we applaud them,” said Edward Boles, treasurer of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.
Miller said the support of the unions proved he was doing his job.
“If I didn’t fight for the rights of workers, the rights of unionized workers, the rights of workers to make a living and support their families, they wouldn’t be here supporting me.”
Etienne David Adorno returned to his grade school at P.S. 60 to cast his ballot in the race for the 38th Assembly District seat currently held by Assemblymember Mike Miller.
Adorno, who has traveled throughout the district during the day, said he’s received a great response from voters — something he’s noticed throughout his campaign.
“I’ve had such a large group of young people come out that have never cared about politics and now they actually are following it,” he said.
“I think that once I go to Albany, I’ll be able to accomplish a lot more because I don’t have any strings attached, so it’s not like I won’t be able to speak up on a bill because my endorsers say if you do next year we’ll run someone against you,” he said.
The long-time Woodhaven resident said he’s confidant because of the amount he was able to accomplish in only a few months campaigning.
“If we win the election this year or not, it doesn’t matter, because we won the campaign,” Adorno said. “And there’s always next time.”
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said State Senate contender John Messer as he cast his ballot. “The reception everywhere has been really good.”
Accompanied by wife Wendy and the pair’s three children, Ryan, 10, and 5-year-old twins Alexander and Jackie, the businessman and local attorney filed his vote inside the gymnasium at P.S. 46. Messer is looking to sweep State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky’s spot in the 16th District — a position she has held for the past 13 terms.
By the time Messer cast his ballot at 3:30 p.m., 22 people had already voted at P.S. 46.
Messer’s primary day began around 6 a.m., shuffling mostly around Flushing where he said he has gained a tremendous amount of support.
According to the candidate, feedback from many neighborhoods where he expected his opponent to excel had turned back less-than-stellar turn-out numbers — something Messer believes bodes in his favor.
In the days leading up to the primary election, the candidate’s office received countless phone calls asking about their changed polling sites. To alleviate confusion, Messer decided to send the 6,000 residents who pledged him their vote letters with correct poll site addresses. The note, which was originally just going to be a thank you letter, turned into something the Senate hopeful believes will bring more citizens out to vote.
Messer believes his increased visibility may be the key to winning the race.
“I don’t even have to say who I am,” he said. “People know who I am just by walking by them. It’s positive, even in the areas where my opponent is stronger. I’m such a cautious guy, but I’m getting a lot of winks, nods and people turning around and giving me the thumbs up.”
Poll workers at P.S. 184 said many voters were upset to arrive only to learn that their poll site had changed.
“One woman could see her house from the site, but we had to send her to St. Andrew’s,” one worker said.
Fifty one poll sites were changed in Queens this year due to redistricting.
The voters that only learned today of the changes said they were upset with the lack of notice.
“I’m not going,” one voter said of her new poll site.
The highly contentious District 16 Senate race remained antagonistic hours before the close of the primary, as negative campaign fliers focused on State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky continue to flutter around poll sites in Jackson Heights, the incumbent candidate said.
“They’re not from me,” Stavisky said. “I was handed one.”
Stavisky, who has faced a heated battle with her opponent, John Messer, said her camp has refrained from handing out damaging literature of her rival and said she’s happy with the campaign she’s conducted.
“I talked about the issues that were important to the voters: education, job creation, service for older Americans, healthcare. This is what people care about,” she said. “I tried to discuss those issues.”
Stavisky’s campaign workers said the western Queens voter turnout was “not bad.”
More than 110 people had placed their votes at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights — a new part of Senate District — as of 4:30 p.m., Stavisky said.
But voters have told the senator they’ve been turned away from polling sites.
“That’s the real problem,” Stavisky said. “They’re very upset. They never got a card telling them about [poll site changes]. I know the Board of Elections has a difficult job. I’m not criticizing the Board of Elections. But nevertheless, the bottom line is people are having a hard time finding their polling place.”
— BY MELISSA CHAN
Assemblymember Mike Miller said there were a few problems at polling sites in the area with residents being turned away.
Some voters were sent to a different polling site only to be sent back to the original site, he said.
“You never want to have that. They’re coming out to vote; I don’t want them to be disenfranchised,” Miller said.
The assemblymember said his staff is at different sites making sure that if a voter’s name is not at the site, they are given an affidavit ballot.
— BY BILLY RENNISON
“It’s an election. This is people giving an opinion about the job you did. If they vote me out, to them I didn’t do a good job, but I’m pretty confident in the job we’ve done the last three years in the district and people realize that,” Miller said.
The assemblymember said he was happy with the response he was receiving from voters he has spoken to.
The key to this primary day, he said, is the swarms of volunteers that have come out for him.
“I get volunteers because of the commitment I give to people and I get that in return,” Miller said. “These people can be anywhere today. They can be home relaxing, but they’re here — they’re trying to get me re-elected.”
— BY BILLY RENNISON
12: 30 p.m.
Councilmember Eric Ulrich and his wife casted their votes for the Republican primary in Senate District 15 at P.S. 63 in Ozone Park – where Ulrich went to school from kindergarten to fourth grade.
After voting at 10:30 a.m., Ulrich told reporters the mailer attack from Juan Reyes’ campaign was incorrect and offensive to many demographics in the district.
“To use outright bigotry to try to scare voters and outright intimidate voters I think is an absolute disgrace,” Ulrich said.
— BY TERENCE M. CULLEN
Assembly hopeful Clyde Vanel, who cast his vote at P.S. 147 around 10 a.m., anxiously awaits the outcome of the race.
“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Vanel said around noon. “I can’t wait until it’s over, but it’s exciting.”
The business owner and community advocate, running in the 33rd Assembly District against incumbent Barbara Clark, said getting voters to the polls is always difficult, especially during the primary election. Vanel said a main goal of his campaign was increasing voter participation.
“Many people’s polling sites changed and a lot of people didn’t receive notice or got the wrong address,” said Vanel. “We have to better inform people in the community about where they can vote.”
— BY ALEXA ALTMAN
A large support base had already come out in numbers to place their vote for Assembly hopeful Nily Rozic, according to the first-time Democratic candidate from Fresh Meadows.
“I was at P.S. 173 this morning. There were a lot of my neighbors coming to vote and coming out to support me,” said the 25th Assembly District contender. “We’re really excited. I feel really strong. I have a great team and I feel really good about this election.”
Still, the former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh said she expects a lower than usual voter turnout count.
“It is a Thursday primary, so it’s kind of an anomaly,” said Rozic, whose campaign literature outside poll sites tout her recent endorsements from the New York Times and the New York Daily News.
Poll site volunteers at P.S. 173 said more people have been coming out than they expected. One booth alone had seen 18 voters by only 10 a.m.
“The 25th Assembly District wants someone who’s independent, someone who offers a different perspective and is a fresh voice for our neighborhood,” she said. “Across the district, we’ve seen that we have a large base of support, whether it’s south Flushing or out in the depths of Oakland Gardens.”
Meanwhile, her opponent, longtime Community Board 11 chair and attorney Jerry Iannece, took to his poll site earlier at 9 a.m. The Bayside resident is backed by several elected officials, as well as the Queens County Democratic Party.
His campaign spokesperson, Will Watts, said Iannece’s camp is still waiting on returns for hard mid-dat turnout figures.
“So far, however, it appears to be a low turnout election,” Watts said. “We are counting on our volunteers and voter outreach operation to get out our vote and we are confident in them.”
— BY MELISSA CHAN