Engaged New Yorkers cast ballots on first day of early primary voting

Engaged New Yorkers cast ballots on first day of early primary voting

Early voting in New York’s June 28th primary started Saturday with relatively no hiccups for voters.

Registered Democrats and Republicans will pick their nominees for governor and other statewide races. For the Democrats, incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul is running against Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. On the Republican side, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island, Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani are running for their party’s nomination.

Democrats will also cast their ballots for lieutenant governor, choosing between incumbent Antonio Delgado, Ana Maria Archila and Diana Reyna.

Early voting was quick and efficient for Judy Birch, who cast her ballot just after 9 am at the Bronx County Courthouse, one of several poll sites open across the borough.

“It’s faster,” the retired nurse said. “You get it done, no lines, and not much drama.”

Birch said she voted for Hochul, who is seeking a full four-year term in office after replacing former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in 2021. After Hochul’s first 10 months in office, Birch said she found the incumbent to be doing a good job and “seems to be making all the right steps.”

Cecelia Dais, 74, a concourse resident who worked as a clerk in the courthouse, said crime was a major concern of hers as she headed into the voting booth.

“Years ago I wasn’t really afraid to come out. But now, I am, because of the crime,” said Dais, who declined to say who she voted for. She said she hopes her pick can “make it easier for me to come out of my apartment” and “get the crime down.”

At Brooklyn College, voters were casting their ballots at the campus gym on the second floor. Ivy Nunes of Flatbush was one of them, who took advantage of the short lines.

“I’m the kind of person who goes to important events earlier so I could avoid the rush of people, the stress of it all, and I don’t want to be late for anything,” she said. “I don’t want the rush of a lot of people when it comes to the Election Day itself.”

Public school teacher Ella Fredrick said the primary is on the first day of summer break for city public schools, so she wanted to get it done before she went on vacation.

“I’ll be on an airplane. So if I didn’t have this opportunity to vote early, I’d have to be late for my flight,” said Fredrick, who teaches civics.

She said she would never miss the opportunity to vote because “we practice what we preach.”

In Manhattan, at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, Nina Jody also opted to vote early because she said she will be in Denmark on primary day. But unlike Fredrick, Jody said she missed the thrill of a singular Election Day, which involved interacting with others at the polling sites. She said it made it feel like her vote counted.

“I think there was something good about your whole neighborhood showing up physically in person,” she said. “It was a bigger sense of importance in terms of what you knew about the candidates.”

Early voting runs through June 26th and Primary Day is June 28th. Voters are assigned an early voting location, which may be different from your regular polling site.

The state will hold a second primary on August 23rd for congressional and state Senate candidates after a judge ruled the original maps drawn by Democrats were made with partisan intent.

David Cruz, Enrico Denard and Elizabeth Shwe contributed reporting.

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