Queens Votes in DA Primary: In shadow of Queens Criminal Court, Kew Gardens voters make their cases

File photo/Mark Hallum

Turnout was not exactly heavy at P.S. 99 in Kew Gardens — the closest polling station to the Queens County Criminal Courthouse, where the Queens district attorney is based — as less than 200 had cast their votes as of 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Although crowds were light, not even any lines, the main driver of turnout as expressed by voters was not specific issues pertaining to the candidates themselves so much as the simple fact they get to decide on a Queens district attorney for the first time in 28 years.

Voters who spoke on the basis of anonymity said they would like to see some reforms while others put their vote toward candidates they saw as opposing the 1.2-million-square-foot jail proposed for Kew Gardens.

“Certainly the issue that steered my vote was that I don’t want to see a 29-story jail in Kew Gardens,” one voter said before clarifying. “I’m opposed to 29 stories.”

The borough-based jail, one of four proposed for the city, would house less than 1,200 detainees and fall below the scope of 23 stories total. This is a reduction from the original proposal from the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), which placed the jail at 29 stories.

“I want to see change for district attorney’s office, it’s seldom we get an election for that,” another voter said.

One man said he would trust former public defender Tiffany Caban with implementing reforms.

“I think it’s important how the district attorney approach the process – I voted for Caban,” he said. “Having a former defense attorney as district attorney seems like a positive stretch of the use of that discretion.”

QNS has reporters at polling sites across Queens this morning as Democrats head to the polls in the all-important district attorney primary. Stay tuned to QNS today for the latest reaction from voters as well as full results later tonight!

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