By the TimesLedger staff
By the TimesLedger staff
Queens voters turned out in strong numbers under bright skies Tuesday for the most competitive presidential primary in three decades.
Less than five minutes after the polls closed at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Queens native Donald Trump was projected the winner of the Republican primary in New York state, with its 95 delegates. Trump had about 54 percent of the vote, Gov. Ohio Gov. John Kasich 28 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 18 percent, according to preliminary results from NY1, but those numbers could change.
On the Democratic side of the ledger, NY1 called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the winner of the Democratic primary over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by a margin of about 60 percent to 40 percent at 9:45 p.m. There were 247 Democratic delegates at stake.
Based on a spot check of polling sites across the borough by the TimesLedger Newspapers, voting was heavy in Sunnyside, Hollis and Astoria during the
day as a steady stream of voters circled their ballots in Bayside and Jamaica.
There were some glitches at the Queens polls, but major irregularities elsewhere in the other boroughs prompted Comptroller Scott Stringer to announce that he would audit the city Board of Elections. Some 125,000 registered Democratic were inexplicably dropped from the rolls in Brooklyn between November and Primary Day, which could have some impact on Sanders’ vote count.
“The people of New York City have lost confidence that the Board of Elections can effectively administer elections and we intend to find out why the Board of Elections is so consistently disorganized, chaotic and inefficient,” Stringer said in a statement.
When BOE auditors arrived at Bayside HS early Tuesday evening to check operations, poll coordinator Denise Bride reported the machines had been working properly.
But over in Astoria at PS 85 earlier in the day, veteran precinct coordinator Loretta Csikortos found herself swamped when more than 1,100 voters showed up before 11 a.m. She was shorthanded because 14 poll workers had failed to report for duty.
“If it’s like this on Election Day, they just better shut this one down,” she said. “We’re really juggling here.”
Astoria voter Chris Escandon, 24, works around the corner from PS 85 and was hoping he could vote by affidavit. But he was told his vote might not be counted.
“If that’s the case, I’ll just wait until I get home,” he said. “I’d rather vote at home and make sure it counts because this is such a pivotal moment for the country. We have no idea where we are headed.”
A woman could not find her name in the book at one Flushing polling site even though her adult children were listed and the family had not moved. She was directed to fill out an affidavit, which allowed her to vote.
Many voters in Queens were looking for change as they marked their ballots for Trump, while others said they voted for Hillary and sometimes Kasich because of their proven track records. The economy, middle class struggles and illegal immigration were recurring themes.
Confusion reigned at some polling spots in Queens when independent voters tried to cast their ballots and others wanted to switch their party affiliations just to vote in Tuesday’s primary. Under New York election law, only people registered with a party can vote in that party’s primary, which leaves independents without a vote.
At the Queens Botanical Garden site in Flushing, a registered Democrat wanted to vote for Cruz, a Republican, for just a one-time vote outside her party ranks, but was told she could not. Two or three other would-be voters without party affiliations arrived at the precinct and some independents went to the polls across the borough unsure as to whether they would be allowed to cast their ballots.
In Hollis several voters wanted to switch their party affiliation for the primary, but that had to be done by Oct. 9, 2015.
The Board of Elections did not mail out the standard voter cards about polling sites, voting hours and other information for the primary, annoying some who
were trying to find their district. But after filling out their ballots, voters were issued little stick-on paper circles to indicate they had done their civic duty — a strange footnote.
At PS 20 in Flushing a few voters were irritated when they were forced to remain in the gym for about five minutes when a code yellow alert was issued – probably the result of a missing child or a sick person. It seems to be a small price to pay for the use of the school as a polling place.
At Hillcrest Jewish Center in Fresh Meadows, Annam Malik said it had been busier than in other primaries.
“The youth vote – I heard about it on the news,” she said. “But now I’m actually seeing it.”