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Recapping notes from the polls on Primary Day

By TimesLedger staff

Assembly candidate knocked off ballot writes in his name in Woodside

The man in the dusty bandana and paint smeared T-shirt was greeted warmly by fellow Woodside voters as he entered the Catholic War Veterans post on 61st Street. David Rosasco had hoped to be wearing a suit and running as a candidate for the state Assembly, until fellow Woodsider Brian Barnwell blocked him.

“Through an advocate he was able to erase me,” Rosasco said. “They challenged my signatures. We went to the Board of Elections, State Supreme Court and then the Appellate Court and then my counsel said we should probably not pursue it any longer and I terminated my candidacy.”

Rosasco’s 2009 run for City Council ended the same way. So it is Barnwell challenging Assemblywoman Margaret Markey Tuesday.

“His supporters have been pretty negative towards me on social media. That’s pretty frustrating, but that’s politics these days,” Barnwell said about Rosasco. “Look, he’s a nice guy and he does good things for the neighborhood, but he simply didn’t have enough signatures.”

Rosasco started the youth-driven Woodside Neighborhood Association more than a decade ago. Every weekend in all sorts of weather they gather and clean, paint hydrants, remove illegal dumping and plant hundreds of trees.

“The worst thing was telling the kids I wasn’t on the ballot. This has left a lot of people in Woodside, especially the young, disillusioned and disheartened,” Rosasco said. “I’m going back to where I started. Back on the street with my kids, restoring this zip code to pristine condition.”

But not before he voted for himself as a write-in candidate.

“They haven’t heard the last from me,” Rosasco said.

—Bill Parry

Markey joined by Uniform Fire Offices at IS 73 polling site in Maspeth

State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) was greeted by members of the Uniformed Fire Officers as she arrived at IS 73 in Maspeth just after noon Tuesday. Markey cast her vote as she seeks to retain her seat in the Assembly against primary challenger Brian Barnwell, a 30-year-old attorney from Woodside.

“It’s so great to have supporters from the Uniformed Fire Officers out at polling sites helping me campaign today,” Markey said. “They are ones of the many in organized labor who are backing me for re-election, including teachers, nurses, hotel workers and building and construction trades unions who know that I work hard in Albany for their members and every middle-class family.”

Barnwell, who voted with his grandmother at the Boulevard Gardens Apartments in Woodside, blasted Markey for the way she claimed credit when the city postponed the opening of a proposed homeless shelter in Mapeth where he frequently joins nightly protests at the Holiday Inn Express on 55th Road.

“Community pressure — the people who protested every night and who marched against the proposed shelter — stopped the shelter. The people deserve all of the credit, not Markey,” Barnwell said. “Taking credit for something the community accomplished is typical of a politician.”

—Bill Parry

Less than 200 show up so far in Middle Village for Markey-Barnwell race.

There was a small turnout at PS 49 in Middle Village Tuesday morning, but precinct coordinator Rosalinda Salvatierra expects the pace will pick up later this afternoon in the race between state Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) and challenger Brian Barnwell. By midday fewer than 200 people had voted in the school’s gymnasium, which had more poll workers than voters during lunchtime.

“It’s pretty much what you would expect for a one-party primary,” she said. “The Board of Elections was expecting a slow day so they combined seven voting districts here.”

Salvatierra moved to Glendale three years ago from the Elmhurst and Jackson Heights area and was surprised at how different the neighborhoods are.

“Elmhurst and Jackson Heights are so metropolitan, much more ethnic and diverse,” she said. “Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth are more like the suburbs. Everyone around here is so civic-minded. That’s why I’m sure things will pick up around 5:30 when everyone comes home from work.”

Bill Parry

Two Assembly candidates campaign outside Hollis high school

At the Mathematics, Science, Research and Technology High School in Hollis, turnout was higher throughout the day than at other polling sites in the 33rd Assembly District, and candidates and supporters hoisted placards outside of the facility. Community Board 13 Chairman Bryan Block campaigned outside with his mother and said he had visited several schools in the district already.

“I feel cautiously optimistic,” he said. Block is running in the Assembly District 33 race to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village). Five candidates are vying for her seat.

Down the street, Nantasha Williams, another Assembly candidate, shook the hands of supporters and said she planned to work hard to get out the vote in Hollis and Cambria Heights, calling the area a stronghold. She said she was optimistic about how the evening would go.

“I tried to stay above the fray,” she said. “My heart is in this for the right reasons.”

Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) was at the facility, and said from his perspective the election process had been going smoothly in comparison to criticisms of the city Board of Elections during the presidential primaries in April.

The site’s coordinator said it had been a steady flow of voters throughout the day. Like the other schools, she expected a crunch in the evening hours after work.

Patrick Donachie

Voters dragging their heels in Bayside

Maria Nickens, coordinator of the poll site at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, said only about 30 voters had arrived between 6 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to vote in the Stavisky vs. Jung state Senate race. She said she did not expect turnout to exceed the 140 voters who showed up at the site for the Democratic congressional primary in June.

The issues which matter to her in this election are housing and the homeless problem. She lives in Bayside, and although school overcrowding does not affect her, she knows the problem needs to be addressed by elected officials.

Nickens said she did not have a specific candidate preference, but knew Sen. Toby Stavisky had served the 16th District for many years and believed it was time for a new face. S.J. Jung is facing off against Stavisky for the second time.

Meanwhile, poll workers yawned waiting for voters to arrive.

Mark Hallum

Hyndman gets support from voters in Springfield Gardens

At 9:45 a.m. Springfield High School volunteers waited patiently for voters but acknowledged that it will most likely be a slow day. The gymnasium was almost completely empty. One voter, who came and went, already had her mind made up: she was voting for the incumbent, state Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens), who is running against Lorraine Gittens-Bridge.

“Voting has always been important to me,” Marie Faison said. “It’s especially important in this upcoming national election, but this primary has been good, too. Hyndman was the only candidate sending out information. I got nothing from the other candidates. She kept calling with updates so I’m going for that.”

At 10:30 a.m. the Success Academy in Springfield Gardens was a similar scene, the quiet and empty gym filled with volunteers behind the desk, waiting to help incoming voters. A front desk worker said it was busy at around 6 a.m. Voters usually come before and after work so they were expecting it to get busy again after 5 p.m.

At the polls were a couple who just finished voting. They also supported Hyndman, citing her involvement in the community during her short time as an assemblywoman.

“We’re voting for who is going to do the most for our community,” said Joseph Bryant, who stood with his wife, Marcia, said. “Hyndman has gone out and worked for senior citizens like us and has worked on programs for the youth, which is important because we have a grandson. She’s involved in the community and has reached out.”

Gina Martinez

Retired officer in St. Albans talks about importance of voting

The polling site in the St. Albans Congregational Church was empty and quiet around 11 a.m. According to a volunteer, most voters in the area and working people will come in the late afternoon. Many of the voters are senior citizens during the day.

Denise Moore, a retired police officer, walked out with a smile on her face after casting her vote. While she wouldn’t reveal who she voted for, she was hopeful her candidate wound win.

“I’ve been voting since I was 18,” she said. “People fought and died for the right to vote. I vote so at least I can complain about things I don’t like. One main issue is our education system. It has to be fair and equal for all our kids whether they’re in charter or public schools. It can’t only be about testing. Our kids have to become critical thinkers. We need education reform and I think my candidate will fix it.

Gina Martinez

Turnout sluggish in race for Barbara Clark’s vacant seat at PS 191 in Bellerose

At Public School 191, also known as the Mayflower School, in Bellerose, poll coordinator Russell Carey said turnout had been sparse in the race by 10 a.m.

Bellerose is included in the 33rd Assembly District, which has five candidates vying to replace veteran legislator Barbara Clark, who died in February.

“It’s normal. You probably won’t see much of anyone until 4 p.m.,” Carey said. “You want to help America vote.”

There were nine election district tables set up and Carey said the highest turnout at one table thus far had been six. people. He said he had not seen much coverage of the primary date in the media and he thought some people might not be aware there was a primary.

“A lot of people will wake up and say, ‘There was an election today?” he said.

But Carey did not see the general election for the presidency in November having the same sparse turnout.

“They’ll be standing outside banging on the door, waiting to get in!” he said.

Patrick Donachie

Voting also is slow at PS 52 in Springfield Gardens

Turnout was similarly low at Public School 52 in Springfield Gardens, although poll coordinator Paula Constant also hoped for higher traffic in the evening hours.

She estimated there had been about 30 voters as of about 11:30 a.m. From her past experience, she said that about 200 voters could be expected on primary days.

“I feel like everybody’s waiting for November,” she said.

Outside, Adrienne Adams, who is challenging state Sen. James Sanders (D-Rochdale Village), offered pamphlets to people walking by. Adams’ campaigner workers said some voters who passed by expressed support for their candidate to them.

Patrick Donachie

Few voters casting ballots at one spot in Flushing

Leola Wayne, the coordinator at the Taiwan Center’s polling station in Flushing, said they have only had 41 voters since 6 a.m. This is ground zero in the race between state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and challenger S.J. Jung.

The polling site listed by the BOE in Forest Hills was deserted and the building was locked.

Mark Hallum

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