Written and photographed by Aisha Brown
City voters arrived to local voting sites to cast their ballots for Mayor of New York, Public Advocate, Comptroller, City Council and District Attorney in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary Election.
As a standby poll worker, I was thrilled to involve myself in such an important civic duty. Being an African American, exercising the right to vote holds importance to my life due to the blood, sweat and tears my ancestors fought for. With that in mind, being placed as a standby poll worker would be an exciting experience.
My day began at 4:30 a.m. with the sound of my alarm clock. While arriving to the standby poll workers site, Church of Intersession located on 155th street and Broadway, a slew of anticipating workers stood on line to be assigned to a voting site.
Each standby worker was placed in a large room and patiently waited for their name to be called for a working site. The influx of eager workers was a little overwhelming. I was eager to know how I could help. I was assigned to check the assignment card of each worker for proper information. After six hours, 325 standby workers were assigned a voting site. Even though I was not assigned a poll site, I felt just as important with helping to make the process smoother.
Around 1:00 p.m., I arrived at Public School 28 to cast my ballot. Upon entering the building, voters were greeted by poll workers to instruct them on the proper use of the voting machine and lead down a narrow hallway to the voting area.
Registered voter, Leonore Nelson stated, “My voting experience at this site is always wonderful, everything was smooth sailing.”
Traditionally, primaries have a lower voter turnout rate compared to general elections but this primary election was important to some.
“ I understand the importance of voting, positions such as public advocate and comptroller directly affects the neighborhood,” said Carlton M. Williams, a local resident.
While observing the turnout rate, it continued to remain low throughout the day only just a few hundred. However, voting site coordinator, Elise McDaniel observed an increase in Hispanic voters in this election. “Being a coordinator for the last 35 years, this year I noticed a huge turnout within the Hispanic community.”
With the polls closing at 9 p.m., the Democratic race ended for most: William Thompson is now the official Democratic mayoral candidate, John Liu and David Yassky face a run off for Comptroller, Bill de Blasio and Mark Green will also be in a run off on September 29th election for Public Advocate.
Harlem’s own Robert Jackson won the District 7 city council representative office and Cyrus Vance for Manhattan district attorney.
After lending a helping hand with this election, I felt empowered as an African American and honored to continue the legacy which once was prohibited for Blacks in America.
Harlem, did you vote yesterday?