Queens Votes in the DA Primary: Jackson Heights’ polling stations are quiet but turnout is higher than usual

Max Parrott/QNS

Though the turnout in Jackson Heights was sleepy, polling workers say it’s above average for a citywide election in the neighborhood.

“Surprisingly, people have been trickling in. Because it’s one of these small offices, we thought it was going to be a low turnout, plus the weather,” said Hernando Pachon, the polling coordinator at the Renaissance Charter School. 

While three of the neighborhood’s polling sites had all processed about 200 to 300 votes as of midday, polling coordinators at Renaissance and P.S. 69 and 212, all said that the turnout came as a steady trickle without any large crowds in the morning. 

Though number of voters may be slightly higher than usual, the bar is low. Voter Gregory Spock said that low voter turnout is common in the neighborhood.

“I’m also a member of the community board in Elmhurst. And I think it’s very difficult to get people to be politically motivated and mindful. We’re also fairly slim on the attendance and I think that echoes the election,” Spock said.

The voters who voluntarily expressed their political preferences were about evenly split between those who had been motivated by progressive causes like immigration reform and decriminalizing small offenses and those who thought that several candidates were too far to the left of the spectrum.

Polling coordinator at P.S. 212 Kenneth Jakowitz said that he thought the slight bump in attendance for a city election was due to an increase in competition in the race over the last few weeks. Shirley Thompson, a poll worker at the site, added, “I can tell you I’ve seen more young voters that I’ve usually seen here.”

“Would you use the ‘M’ word?” Jakowitz asked. “I mean, millennials. You see more millennials than you would expect. But that also has to do with the makeup change of the neighborhood.”

QNS reporters visited polling sites across Queens on Tuesday as Democrats headed to the polls in the all-important district attorney primary. Stay tuned to QNS for the latest reaction from voters as well as full results later tonight!

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