POLLS CLOSED: Queens finishes casting votes, but absentee ballots lie in wait

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Photo by Dean Moses

The polls have closed in New York’s primary Tuesday in the presidential, Congressional, state and local legislative races.

Most contest winners, however, may not be known for some time, as thousands upon thousands of absentee ballots have yet to be counted.

New Yorkers were encouraged to vote by absentee ballot this election cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the city’s Board of Elections won’t begin tallying these ballots until June 30.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Board of Elections reported that more than 700,000 ballots absentee have been distributed to registered Democrats alone, but just over 77,000 of them had been returned, or 11% of the total.

Absentee ballots had to be received by the Board of Elections, or at least postmarked, by June 23. It figures that the board will receive additional completed ballots mailed in over the next several days.

Early voting took place across the city this month, but turnout was sparse; by all accounts, traffic was also light at the normal polling sites that were open across the city Tuesday.

But in some cases, recent events including the pandemic and the protests over the death of George Floyd drove voters to the polls to make their voice heard on a local level. 

“I voted for everything. I voted for the presidential primary and the local and state elections,” said Ellie Toder, a voter in northwest Queens. “I try to vote locally every election just because it’s the most important to get things done, especially with COVID-19 happening. I think it inspired me even more along with the Black Lives Matter movement really being in the swing of things and making sure the right people are in office.” 

At a nearby polling site, voter Patricia Rising agreed. 

“I really think we need to start in our communities, and voting is very important,” Rising said. 

The city Board of Elections results is scheduled to post on their website returns that reflect the ballots received on June 23 and during early voting. The preliminary results could change dramatically once the absentee ballots are counted, so we will forego reporting any projections in contests considered too close to call. Visit vote.nyc to view the returns.

Some of the races to watch as the vote count begins appear below. Click on each race to see the unofficial vote count.

  • The five-way Queens Borough President primary featuring City Council members Costa Constantinides and Donovan Richards, former City Council member Elizabeth Crowley and two other challengers.
  • The 14th Congressional District primary in northwestern Queens and the Bronx pitting freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against three challengers: Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Samuel Sloan and Badrun Khan.
  • The 12th Congressional District primary in Manhattan/Queens featuring Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and three challengers: Suraj Patel, Peter Harrison and Lauren Ashcraft.
  • The 5th Congressional District primary in southeast Queens and Nassau County in which incumbent Gregory Meeks faces off against challenger Shaniyat Chowdhury.
  • The 12th State Senate District primary in which incumbent Michael Gianaris goes up against retired sanitation worker Iggy Terranova.
  • The 31st Assembly District where Queens sees one of its most crowded races. Shea Uzoigwe, Lisa George, Khaleel Anderson, Tavia Blakely, Richard David and Derrick DeFlorimonte all face off.
  • The 34th Assembly District in which incumbent Michael DenDekker faces four challengers: Joy Chowdhury, Angel Cruz, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Nuala O’Doherty-Naranjo.
  • The 35th Assembly District in which incumbent Jeffrion Aubry faces a challenge from Hiram Monserrate, a former state senator who plead guilty to corruption charges.
  • The 36th Assembly District in which incumbent Aravella Simotas goes up against DSA-backed candidate Zohran Kwame Mamdani. 
  • The 38th Assembly District in which incumbent Michael Miller faces two challengers: Jenifer Rajkumar and Joseph De Jesus. 

Check with QNS.com in the days ahead for further coverage of the primary.

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