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LIVE UPDATES: Queens residents head to the polls to vote in general election

A voter fills out a ballot at Dayton Tower West in Rockaway Park on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Another Election Day is here, and this time Queens residents will be heading to the polls for the general election to vote for the people who will represent their local districts, the borough and the city.

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, polls are be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Early voting took place from Oct. 23 to Oct. 31, and 36,456 Queens residents — about 21.5% of 169,879 early voters citywide — took advantage of it, according to the unofficial count from the New York City Board of Elections (BOE).

New Yorkers will also vote on five ballot proposals to change some segments of the state’s constitution. THE CITY broke down what exactly those ballot proposals — which include changes to the redistricting process, environmental protections, voting and absentee ballots access and the Civil Court’s function — mean.

While the competitive primary election in June used ranked-choice voting (RCV) for the first time, the general election will not. Voters will choose one candidate for each seat on their ballot.

To find your poll site, visit findmypollsite.vote.nyc. Follow along throughout the day to see what the Queens polls look like.

At the polls

A steady stream of voters were seen at Dayton Tower West in Far Rockaway Tuesday morning.

A poll worker registers a voter at Dayton Tower West in Rockaway Park on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)
A voter fills out a ballot at Dayton Tower West in Rockaway Park on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Melisa Ritchie, 33, lives in the building and went to vote with her twin 6-year-olds, who had tablets and textbooks in hand as they attended virtual school.

“I would like a lot of things to change. I don’t like picking Republican or Democrat; I would like it better if it was just people speaking their mind and letting us know what they want instead of going for party,” Ritchie said.

For her, the most important race was the mayoral one, and she said she cast her vote for Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa.

Melisa Ritchie fills out her ballot as her twin 6-year-olds attend virtual school at the Dayton Tower West polling site in Rockaway Park on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)
A poll worker holds up stickers at the polling site in Dayton Tower West in Rockaway Park on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Ritchie said her main issue is the COVID-19 vaccines.

“I do not want to vaccinate my children … I will say that was a very big decision in my voting,” Ritchie said. “I think that it is a disgrace that our people who were once heroes and were clapped for are now losing their jobs because of a personal decision. I think that that is absurd.”

Turnout was relatively lower at the Peninsula Queens Public Library poll site in Rockaway Beach Tuesday morning.

Poll worker Denise Brown hands a voter their ballot at the Queens Public Library polling site in Far Rockaway on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

For John Wilson, 85, this election is about “saving the city,” with crime being his most important issue.

“Right now, it’s all topsy turvy. I don’t know what’s the right thing to do, but I figure [by] voting, at least I can shout whether I like or don’t like it,” said Wilson, who didn’t want to say who he voted for. “I don’t know if the city can be saved in four years, it’s going to take a long time but hopefully it will happen.”

Susannah Ray, 49, also voted at the library, and said that for her, the City Council District 32 race was the noteworthy one in this election — one of the most competitive in the city this election cycle. She cast her vote for Felicia Singh for City Council and Eric Adams for mayor.

“I am a Democrat, [and] I’m excited to have Felicia on the ballot,” Ray said. “Her opponent has been running a smear campaign filled with lies and negativity, very typical of nationwide Republican behavior. So I hope that Felicia comes out on top. I think she’s a great candidate and I’m excited to see what she can do.”

Ray said voting rights and climate change are her most important issues.

“Particularly here we live in a neighborhood that’s in need of continued progress in terms of resiliency and our infrastructure,” Ray said. “We need people in office, even if it’s on the City Council level, who are really going to fight for making decisions that are wise and forward-thinking.”

Mayoral front-runners cast their vote

The race to watch this year is the one for New York City mayor, where Democratic nominee Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is up against Republican nominee and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Adams cast his vote at his designated polling place, P.S. 81 in Brooklyn. Carrying a photo of his late mother, he broke into tears when speaking of going with her to vote in 1974, and his prospects of becoming the next mayor.

“Every little boy or little girl who was ever told they’d never amount to anything,” Adams said, “every child with a learning disability, every inmate sitting in Rikers, every dishwasher, every child in a homeless shelter, this is for all of you. I only have three words: I am you.”

Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor Eric Adams wipes tears while speaking to media after voting in the New York City mayoral election at P.S. 81 in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., November 2, 2021. (Photo by Andrew Kelly/REUTERS)

Things weren’t as smooth when Sliwa went to cast his vote on the Upper East Side, according to amNew York Metro. He brought his cat with him, but Board of Elections poll workers wouldn’t let him in with one of his 17 felines. Sliwa also got into an imbroglio with them because he wore a jacket advertising his campaign.

That culminated with a shouting match inside the poll site at Frank McCourt High School, during which Sliwa claimed that they were attempting to deny him his right to vote, and have him arrested — claims which weren’t true, according to reporters on the scene. Eventually, things calmed down, and the Republican nominee cast his ballot — though there was more drama when the second page of Sliwa’s two-page ballot got jammed in the scanner.

Progressive turnout in Astoria

Many voters at P.S. 171 in Astoria voted along Democratic party line or for Democratic Socialist of America candidates Tuesday morning. Not many felt strongly about one candidate over another, but more so felt loyal to one party or agenda.

“If I don’t know the candidates, my rule of thumb is to go for the most left-leaning and if they’re female,” Astoria resident Julia McCarthy said.

Julia McCarthy and Adam Spiegel cast their ballots at P.S. 171 in Astoria. (Julia Moro/QNS)

McCarthy and another Astoria local, Adam Spiegel, voted along the Working Families Party and Democratic lines. The pair made sure to prioritize climate change and social justice issues as they voted.

The two were also excited to vote for City Council candidate Tiffany Cabán since she brings a diverse perspective as a queer Latina.

McCarthy said she chose to not vote for mayoral candidate Eric Adams, who is currently leading in the polls, because of his support of the NYPD, which he plans to expand.

Another P.S. 171 voter, Beverly McKinney, was focused on the mayoral race and social issues like police brutality as well; however, she ended up voting for Adams.

“I feel like Adams doesn’t have real competition, so I’m pushed to vote for [him],” McKinney said. “I like his past — he’s a police officer that was victimized as a Black man. This is a big issue in our country.”

McKinney, a Black woman, ultimately voted for Adams because of diversity and hopes he will work to connect police officers with the communities they serve.

“Not [everyone] that’s dark is a criminal,” McKinney said. “Not all cops are bad, and I think that message is coming forward in New York more. I see cops reaching out a little bit more to embrace the community. So Adams is a good voice in saying, ‘Listen, I was victimized. I know that feeling.’ He can relate to the struggles and he got out of it.”

Energetic voter turnout in Breezy Point and Belle Harbor

There was high voter turnout Tuesday morning in Breezy Point and Belle Harbor, as residents waited in line to cast their ballot for their next City Council District 32 representative.

A little over 300 ballots were cast at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, located at 204-25 Rockaway Point Blvd.

Voters lined up at St. Thomas More Catholic Church’s parish center in Breezy Point on Nov. 2. (Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

According to poll site coordinator Marilyn Maloney, “People here look to vote.”

“It’s like a friendly social gathering here when people come out to vote,” Maloney said. “We are also expecting more people in the evening after work.”

After casting her ballot, one resident who asked not to be named said she makes sure to vote in every election.

“I care about what happens in our city and the country,” she said.

A resident fills out a ballot at St. Thomas More Catholic Church poll site on Nov. 2. (Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

According to another resident who also asked not to be named, the issues that are important to her include public safety, education for children and fear of U.S. socialism. The resident said the “streets are unsafe” because the city took away money from the NYPD’s budget, and doesn’t agree with Democratic candidate Singh’s supporting cuts to the agency’s budget.

In regards to education, the resident criticized the de Blasio administration’s decision to cut the Gifted and Talented program in NYC’s public schools.

“Just the idea of taking away the G&T program is scary,” she said. “It’s dumbing down our children to strive to want to do good.”

Meanwhile, P.S. 114, located at 134-09 Cronston Ave. in Belle Harbor, received a higher voter turnout with about 900 ballots cast so far as of Tuesday morning.

“It’s not the presidential election, but it’s a good turnout and it has been consistent,” said Eilee McBride, poll site coordinator. “Nobody has been complaining.”

Residents enter P.S. 114, located at 134-09 Cronston Ave. in Rockaway Park, to cast their ballot on Nov. 2. (Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

As voters trickled into the building, Democratic candidate Felicia Singh and her opponent, Republican Joann Ariola, greeted voters outside of the school.

According to Singh, she is feeling energized, hopeful and deeply courageous, to become the district’s next City Council representative.

“This has been one of the most life-changing experiences of our community because folks have felt so deeply valued, seen and loved in this campaign,” Singh said. “What’s at stake here is having a Trump Republican represent our community and we go backwards — bills won’t get passed in the ways that they could to benefit our communities. That’s what at stake, and voting Democrat is the way to go here.”

Felicia Singh, candidate for City Council District 32, out campaigning in Belle Harbor on Election Day on Nov. 2. (Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

Just a block away from Singh’s team, Ariola said she is feeling encouraged and positive about today’s voter turnout in parts of the district.

“It feels amazing to have so much support, but as I told so many people, signs and banners don’t win elections, voters do. I’ve asked each and every one of them, to come out and vote today,” Ariola said.

Joann Ariola, candidate for City Council District 32, speaks with two residents before they go in to vote. (Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)
“Vote for Joann Ariola” signs and banners were on display in parts of Belle Harbor. (Carlotta Mohammed/QNS)

Middle Village sees slow turnout

The voter turnout at P.S./I.S. 87 in Middle Village was relatively low on early Tuesday afternoon.

Middle Village resident Santina Auguglia said she voted for Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa since she’s strongly against the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Auguglia was a school aid for a public school when she was laid off in early October for refusing to get the vaccine.

“I got COVID when I was pregnant,” Auguglia said. “I don’t feel I should be pushed to get vaccinated for something I already had. My body is strong. Because of the government, I lost my job.”

P.S./I.S. 87 poll site in Middle Village. (Julia Moro/QNS)

Auguglia and another resident, Jane, voted for Councilman Robert Holden.

Jane said she voted for Holden because he’s a “fantastic man.”

“He has been the best person for this area,” Jane said. “He does things. He’s for the people. He’s very attentive to our towns.”

Paul D. said he also voted for Sliwa, with his main issue being crime in the city.

Some Little Neck voters lean toward conservative pol

Northeast Queens voters came out to elect a new District 19 representative to replace term-limited Councilman Paul Vallone. In the running to take Vallone’s spot is former Senator and District 19 Councilman Tony Avella, who is running as a registered Democrat, Republican Vickie Paladino and Conservative John-Alexander Sakelos.

Voters at J.H.S. 67 in Little Neck had mixed feelings when it came to the candidates.

Patricia, a poll worker who did not share her last name with QNS, called Avella an “adequate” candidate and said he was the best candidate in the race.

“I feel that the candidate is adequate but I am more concerned about the functioning of the Republican party, which is skewing my previous experience,” she said. “But I feel that the Republican party right now has stopped me because they are not moderate and thorough in their approach.”

J.H.S. 67 in Little Neck. (Jenna Bacgcal/QNS)

The Little Neck resident added that Avella’s prior political experience was an important factor in choosing who to vote for in District 19.

“New York City is not a small city; it is almost as big as some of the big corporations,” she said. “You cannot run a multifaceted corporation or government without people already knowing the ways that are needed to get done. There’s rules and regulations already in effect and they’re all in small print. So you have to know the small print to get the job done.”

Others, like Douglaston resident and voter Maryann Russo, said that political experience was not a top priority for her and could sometimes be detrimental.

“The longer they’re in politics, the worse they are, I feel,” Russo said.

She told QNS that she was voting for Republican Vickie Paladino, a candidate that Russo said shares her values.

“I think she speaks for us. She wants what we want. She’s tough. She has a voice [and] she’s not afraid. I have the same values as her. We’re against crime [and] everything she stands for I stand for. I like that she doesn’t back down,” Russo said.

Russo added that the top issues she would want the District 19 candidate to address are crime, area rezoning, vaccine mandates and a women’s shelter coming to Douglaston.

“Right now I feel OK with everything, [but] I worry if we have someone who has the same values as de Blasio, things will change. Because I’ve only seen crime get worse, not in Douglaston but definitely in the city,” Russo said. “We just don’t want New York to be a free-for-all and the boroughs to become what’s happening in Manhattan.”

Douglaston resident Joyce Ramirez was volunteering for the Paladino, agreeing that she would be the best candidate to replace Vallone.

Douglas resident Joyce Ramirez volunteers for City Council District 19 candidate Vicki Paladino. (Jenna Bagcal/QNS)

“She’s a pepper pot. She’s got boundless energy for a woman who’s in the same age category as me,” Ramirez said. “I admire her gumption, her dedication to the neighborhood. She has been relentless.”

Ramirez said she was voting for Sliwa as well. She said she was tempted to changed her political affiliation from Independent to Republican this year.

“I’ve been a registered Independent since [I was] 18 years old and was qualified to vote. I’ve never changed my party because you vote for the person, you don’t vote for the party, in my opinion. If the person is going to do good for your neighborhood, for your city, for your state, you vote for the person,” Ramirez said.

Slow but steady in Bayside and Howard Beach

At the P.S. 31Q polling site in Bayside, more than 300 votes were cast at about 3 p.m.

According to poll workers, there was a slow but steady stream of residents. Polls workers were operating with two machines out of three, since one machine wasn’t reading ballots properly. Despite the hiccup, there have been no wait times for voters as of the afternoon.

A poll worker watches as voters fill out their ballots at the P.S. 31Q polling site in Bayside on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.

Angela Sayyed, 80, got emotional while talking about her right to vote.

“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain … so this way no matter what happens, I can complain,” Sayyed said. “I’ve always voted. It’s a privilege. My father came from Russia — they don’t vote. My mother lived through the Depression, so it’s good to keep hoping.”

Sayyed said climate change and infrastructure are important issues to her. However, she isn’t convinced there are candidates on the ballot who can change what she cares about.

“The streets are cracked … I mean we pay high taxes, [so] why is there cracked pavement?” Sayyed said. “The cars are getting bigger and bigger and there’s more and more traffic.”

A voter waits to receive their ballot at the P.S. 31Q polling site in Bayside on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.

The P.S. 146 polling site in Howard Beach also saw a steady stream of voters.

Ewa, 64, said she voted Republican across the board.

“This city is not going in a good direction, so I decided to come out, especially today, to have a say in what direction the city should go,” Ewa said.

Who’s running?

Queens borough president

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Donovan Richards (incumbent)

REPUBLICAN/CONSERVATIVE/SAVE OUR CITY CANDIDATE: Thomas Zmich

City Council District 19

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Tony Avella

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Vickie Paladino

CONSERVATIVE/SAVE OUR CITY CANDIDATE: John-Alexander Sakelos

City Council District 20

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Sandra Ung

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Yu-Ching Pai

City Council District 21

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Francisco Moya (incumbent)

City Council District 22

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Tiffany Cabán

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Felicia Kalan

GREEN PARTY: Edwin DeJesus

City Council District 23

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Linda Lee

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: James F. Reilly

City Council District 24

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: James F. Gennaro (incumbent)

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Timothy Rosen

CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATEMujib U. Rahman

City Council District 25

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Shekar Krishnan

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Shah Shahidul Haque

DIVERSITY CANDIDATE: Fatima Baryab

City Council District 26

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Julie Won

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Marvin R. Jeffcoat

City Council District 27

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Nantasha Williams

City Council District 28

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Adrienne E. Adams (incumbent)

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Ivan D. Mossop

City Council District 29

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Lynn Schulman

REPUBLICAN/CONSERVATIVE/SAVE OUR CITY CANDIDATE: Michael Conigliaro

City Council District 30

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Robert Holden (incumbent)

City Council District 31

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Selvena Brooks-Powers (incumbent)

REPUBLICAN/CONSERVATIVE/SAVE OUR CITY CANDIDATE: Vanessa Pollie Simon

City Council District 32

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Felicia Singh

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Joann Ariola

COMMUNITY FIRST CANDIDATE: Kenichi Wilson

Citywide races

Mayor

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Eric Adams

REPUBLICAN/INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE: Curtis Sliwa

HUMAN UNITED PARTY CANDIDATE: Raja Flores

EMPOWERMENT PARTY CANDIDATE: Quanda Francis

SAVE OUR CITY PARTY CANDIDATE: Fernando Mateo

CONSERVATIVE PARTY CANDIDATE: William Pepitone

LIBERTARIAN PARTY CANDIDATE: Stacey Prussman

PARTY OF SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION CANDIDATE: Cathy Rojas

OUTLAWBREAKER PARTY CANDIDATE: Skiboky Stora

Public Advocate

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Jumaane Williams

REPUBLICAN/SAVE OUR CITY CANDIDATE: Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil

CONSERVATIVE AND INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE: Anthony Herbert

LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE: Devin Balkind

Comptroller

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Brad Lander

REPUBLICAN/SAVE OUR CITY CANDIDATE: Daby Benjamine

CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE: Paul Rodriguez

LIBERTARIAN/INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE:  John A. Tabacco Jr.

With reporting by Paul Frangipane.

This story was updated at 4:40 p.m.

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