I took a stroll along Broadway between Dyckman St. and 207th, where there are two polling places, and around forty different campaign volunteers had gathered for the campaigns of incumbent State Senator Adriano Espaillat and his challenger Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, as well as 72nd AD candidates Mayra Linares, Gabriela Rosa, Melanie Hidalgo, and Ruben Vargas, respectively.
Espaillat and Rosa form a slate, while the Linares family has formed another slate. I spoke with and interviewed canvassers for all camps, and found their interactions with each other to be amicable.
Mayra Linares and Adriano Espaillat had what appeared to be the strongest field-canvass in my neighborhood, and local sentiment favors each in their respective races, and I would go so far as to confirm this based on their community visibility and the aggressiveness of their lit-drops and mailings in my own building.
I had the pleasure of bumping into former NYC Comptroller, Democratic Nominee for Mayor in 2009, and would-be 2013 Mayoral contender, Bill Thompson, canvassing alongside Senator Espaillat at my own subway stop, the Dyckman/200th St. on the A. They worked the evening rush, around 6:30PM.
I spoke with a few voters exiting the poll-site as well, a few of whom shared frustrating experiences they had witnessed.
I conducted an interview with Selma who described the experience of witnessing a poll worker storm out after witnessing one too many voter-difficulties. Selma told me the following, which I have transcribed from an audio recording I made: “As I was walking in, there were 3 different ladies, older ladies, and it seemed like they were told that they couldn’t vote like they were used to, but I think they didn’t understand that (New York) actually changed the districts now, but it was just like, it seemed like they were thinking that they weren’t allowed to vote because they were voting for somebody (the poll workers) didn’t care for and a volunteer was standing there trying to explain, in Spanish, and then one of the (volunteers) at the desk stood up and said ‘You know what, I’ve had it,’ and he walked right out.”
When asked about the new voting machines Selma said she was used to the old machines and added “You start to wonder, the way they do it, do they count it the exactly same way? Hopefully it gets counted properly.”
From my own friends network, by the time I had woken up, Caitlin Burns, a transmedia producer, and Janos Marton, an attorney, both encountered confusion at their would-be poll-sites and were sent to two or more different locations before anyone got them right. Former MYD Treasurer Reggie Thomas apparently went There And Back Again before being permitted to vote.
The New York Board of Elections website even published a warning that due to redistricting, their own online query system might provide out-of-date results.
Bill Thompson said his polling site was quiet, and barely had any turn-out, as there was literally nothing on his ballot save the Surrogate Court race. He shared optimism about the local Senate race (NY-31) but was more guarded in discussing AD-72.
Donnie, a canvasser for the Linares slate said “We’re all Democrats at the end of the day, you know what I mean, so in two months, the bigger picture happens, from community to community. NY to Vegas, to California to Georgia,” and during most of the time I spent with him on 204th and Broadway, while Senator Espaillat and Bill Thompson also worked the same corner, it was light and friendly between camps. Ibrahim Khan from Sen. Espaillat’s staff and Donnie mashed on their NBA basketball rivalries mostly, and with good humor; all of the campaign tension, some which got ugly this summer, was gone from the streets today. Donnie was the only canvasser I spoke to who was not a SD-31/AD-72 resident, and he declined to answer the question of whether or not he was a paid soldier, but he spoke knowledgeably and passionately about the issues of gentrification and redistricting affecting Uptown Manhattan.
I asked everyone I spoke to about the implications for 2013, and the NY-13 congressional race in 2014 (or possibly sooner) and that was a sort of demilitarized “no comment” zone, from everyone, what with potential moves to dramatically redistrict Council Seats, the Mayoral race, and various one-and-two-way endorsements.
Interesting times abound Uptown, thanks for checking them out!