Yes you – the registered Queens voter. You know who you are. You are the voter who stayed home. You are, however, in the vast majority.
Continuing a disturbing trend of recent years, voters in Queens and the other boroughs stayed home in droves during the Tuesday, September 15 Democratic primaries. There are approximately 3,200,000 registered Democrats in the city and of those over 672,500 call Queens home (as of April 1, 2009).
The unofficial low turnout in Queens – perhaps the lowest of all time – is reflected by the fact that in many of the local city council races, 25 percent of the vote meant approximately 2,000 ballots.
An interesting outcome of this election was that the handpicked candidates of the Queens Democratic Party did not automatically win – in fact, some lost big.
In the citywide race for Public Advocate, the Queens County Democratic Association’s pick, City Councilmember Eric Gioia, ran third with only 18 percent of the vote in the five-way race.
In the city council races, newcomer Kevin Kim, an aide to Congressmember Gary Ackerman, garnered 31 percent of the vote in the District 19 race in which Bayside attorney Jerry Iannece – the party’s choice and chair of Community Board 11 – managed 24 percent (a little over 2,000 votes).
Yen Chou, a former teacher, received 25 percent and upset the Dem’s pick of John Choe who was chief-of-staff to City Councilmember John Liu in the six-way contest in District 20.
County Dem candidate in District 26, Deirdre Feerick, who is a city council attorney, ran second to the external affairs officer of the Queens Library, James Van Bramer, who won 46 percent of the primary ballots.
Incumbent City Councilmember Thomas White Jr. led challenger Lynn Nunes by just six votes after the first tally. The recount and counting of the absentee and military ballots could go against Dem regular White for yet another party loss.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is that with such voter apathy we all lose. We say shame on you all for primary day and admonish you to make an extra effort to come out and vote in the Democratic runoff for the citywide offices of Comptroller and Public Advocate on Tuesday, September 29.