Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn districts vary in Election Day turnout

Some Working Families Party confusion

November 4, 2014 By Mary Frost, with additional reporting by Matthew Taub (Special to the Eagle from Brooklyn Brief) Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A family votes in Brooklyn. AP
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Across several neighborhoods in Northeast Brooklyn, voters reported few if any issues with their experience Tuesday morning, often going out of their way to compliment election workers as being competent, courteous, and helpful.

In the early morning hours, turnout was relatively modest from Bushwick to Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. Many residents reported only a trickle of voters within polling places when they cast their ballot.

It was a different story in Brooklyn Heights. Turnout was brisk at 101 Clark St. By 10 a.m., this reporter’s polling machine registered 140 votes, with voters still walking in the door.

The Brooklyn Heights Library polling site was packed at 10:45 a.m. Poll-watcher Dina Sussilleaux enthused, “Here it is, 10:45, and look at this — we’re almost out of stickers. I’m excited about this.”

In Borough Park, Alexander Rapaport tweeted, “Crazy high turnout in Boro Park. I voted around noon & I was number 80.”

By 3:30 p.m., voters were coming into the Heights library in “a constant stream,” said Heights resident Susan Raboy. Her voting machine, for the 10th election district/ 52nd Assembly district, registered 268 votes at that time.

“That’s a good number for that time of day,” Raboy said.

Poll watchers said voters came to the library in spurts by late afternoon. Francesca Norsen Tate, religion editor for the Brooklyn Heights Press reported, “As of 5:21 p.m., my voting precinct at the Brooklyn Heights Library is bustling. When I first walked in, it was quiet.” Tate said her polling site had run out of “I Voted” stickers by the time she got there.

At least one serious misunderstanding was reported to the Board of Elections. Sometime after 5 p.m., Business Insider reporter Colin Campbell tweeted, “It’s at the end of the day and the poll worker in my precinct was still telling voters they have to choose 1 party for the whole ballot.” The polling place was located at a Sunset Park school.

Campbell tweeted this information to the NYC BOE, which tweeted back, “This being looked into. Remember to call 866 VOTE NYC to report such issues.”

There were some voting-day surprises. The Working Families Party endorsed Jo Anne Simon in Brooklyn’s Assembly District 52 – despite Pete Sikora’s name being printed on the WFP line on the ballot.

City Councilmember Brad Lander sent out robocalls asking residents of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope to vote for Simon. Responding to a confused voter via Twitter, he explained, “My 52AD robocall included ‘Please vote for @JoAnneSimonBK52 on Row A!’ @WorkingFamilies & I have endorsed JoAnne.”

In a tweet, Sikora explained, “I wasn’t going to run in general, but there’s no way to swap names on ballot line after prim[ary].” In another tweet he endorsed his former rival Simon:  “I’m not running anymore… my name on @WorkingFamilies line is vestige of dem primary. ppl should vote for @JoAnneSimonBK52″

In another development, WFP reported that some voters had trouble with “NYC’s confusing ballot design.” As reported by The Albany Project, WFP wrote, “You’ll see by looking at it how voters might mistakenly vote twice for governor thinking they were voting straight down the WFP line.”

Even outside of New York City, the politically inclined watched with interest the match between Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, who is facing a 20-count indictment, and Democrat Domenic Recchia in the 11th Congressional District of New York, which includes Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn. The latest Sienne/NY1 pre-election polls had Grimm ahead by 19 percent, though both candidates have questioned the extent of that lead.

Grimm’s campaign “is gearing up for a long night,” one campaign insider told the Brooklyn Eagle reporter Paula Katinas.

Updated with additional polling information at 8:30 p.m.

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