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LIVE UPDATES: Election Day kicks off in Brooklyn for congressional, state Senate primaries

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Voters fill out their ballots in the Democratic primary election for mayor and other citywide elected positions at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

Polls are open as of 6 a.m. on Election Day, Aug. 23, allowing Brooklyn voters to cast their ballot for U.S. House of Representatives and state Senate primary races around the borough until 9 p.m.

This year, the New York primaries were split into two parts: one in June and one in August.

The state was forced to delay the state Senate and Congressional primaries when a Court of Appeals struck down new district maps just two months before the original June primary date. Since the Assembly maps were not tossed at that time (though they have been since then,) the Assembly primary went forward as planned on June 28. Assembly maps will be redrawn before the 2024 election cycle.

Whereas June’s primary was chock-full of local races alongside the big ticket item, voters only have two categories to vote in this year — state Senate and Congressional representative. If only one person is running in a certain district, there will not be a primary — that person is the presumptive candidate and will appear on the ballot in November.

Remember that election day voting sites are different from early voting sites, and that your polling place may have changed since you last voted — find your Primary Day polling site online

Brooklyn Paper will keep you updated throughout the day and will post unofficial election results after the polls close. Results will not be official until they are certified by the city’s Board of Elections.

Low turnout across the city

As expected for a midsummer election, the turnout in the Aug. 23 primary is extremely light across the city. 

As of noon, just about 140,000 voters had checked in at poll sites across the five boroughs — compared to more than 200,000 by that time during the June primaries, according to the city’s Board of Elections. Brooklyn so far has the second-highest turnout Tuesday with 45,880 voters as of noon, likely due to its several notable races.

Among those races are two new Senate districts — District 17 in the southwestern part of Brooklyn is a brand-new district with a majority-Asian population, and District 59 in the north lumps Greenpoint in with parts of Queens and Manhattan. State Senator Andrew Gounardes, who previously represented District 22, is now running in District 26, which more closely follows the neighborhood lines of his first district. Brian Kavanagh, who represents the current District 26 in the state Senate, has been drawn completely out of Brooklyn, and is now running in an all-Manhattan district.

On the federal level, Brooklyn is of course home to part of NY-10, which has garnered an infamously large crowd of candidates including attorney Dan Goldman, Brooklyn Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, Manhattan Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Westchester Congressmember Mondaire Jones, and Manhattan Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. Two longtime Brooklyn representatives, Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, have also been drawn out of Brooklyn and are now battling it out in the race for NY-12 in Manhattan.

Nydia Velázquez, who has represented parts of Brooklyn and Queens for nearly 20 years, first in District 12 and then in District 7 after the 2012 redistricting, faces a very different district as the long list of NY-10 candidates fight to represent her old stomping grounds in parts of Dumbo, Cobble Hill, Red Hook, Park Slope and Sunset Park.

And in southern Brooklyn’s 11th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Nicole Malliotakis is facing off against John Matland, and three Democrats are competing to become the party nominee: Komi Agoda-Koussema, Brittany Ramos DeBarros, and former congressman Max Rose.

What’s on voters’ minds?

Voters trickled into poll sites across Brooklyn Tuesday morning and early afternoon, and in Park Slope, people were eager to cast their vote in the crowded race for NY-10.

While casting the ballot itself appeared to be easy (there were few, if any, lines), many said the difficulty laid in choosing between so many qualified candidates.

“It was really hard,” said a voter named Patricia, who declined to give her last name. “There are a lot of candidates — a lot of good candidates — so it was really difficult to go through everyone and pick.”

Patricia said there are “a number of” candidates she’d be happy to see walk away with the win.

“I don’t miss a chance to vote, I think that’s really important and that everyone should participate,” said Brooklynite Scott Groom outside of PS 321.

As for the issues, Groom said he cares about reproductive rights and climate change, but with all of this choices for the Democratic nomination being so closely aligned, his vote came down to donations.

“The choice, for me, came down to political donations and not receiving money from [Political Action Committees], because I firmly believe that’s a big problem we have, even with the democrats,” he said, adding that he cast this ballot for Jones.

Voters Patrick Wenzel and Stella Belekaya outside of PS 321 in Park Slope.Photo by Ethan Stark-Miller

At the same site, Brooklynites Patrick Wenzel and Stella Belekaya backed Goldman, who served as lead counsel in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump — Belekaya for that very reason, and Wenzel because he’s “a more moderate democrat.”

Voter Tessa Huxley also said she was torn between two great candidates, noting that she voted for Jones in hopes that having already served Congress, he will have some seniority despite changing districts. But, had Jones not been in the race, Huxley said she would have thrown her weight behind Niou.

“I vote every time, I believe you can’t complain unless you vote,” she said outside of her Lower East Side polling site. “I’m a big fan of Yuh-Line but I think that Jones has already been in congress for one session, and therefore has some things figured out … but I [voted] with some regrets.”

Huxley also slammed the redistricting process.

“I just think that this redistricting thing was handled so badly,” she said. “I’m very annoyed with the people in Albany who have done it so weirdly that it’s gerrymandered by both the democrats and the republicans.”

No matter who they chose, voters Brooklyn Paper and PoliticsNY spoke to Tuesday were all in agreement about the importance of casting a ballot.

“People are not interested in local elections, but I don’t understand it,” said 47-year-old Tracy Johansson. “I don’t want to leave anything that happens in my district in the hands of other people without even having a say in the matter.”

Lucas Clingson agreed.

“I’ve never wanted to vote because I’m always scared to give power and resources to the wrong person,” he said, “but I’ve always voted because I don’t want to leave it to people with corrupt interests.”

In Dyker Heights, where voters are coming out for primaries on both sides of the aisle, priorities included supporting healthcare, education, voters’ rights and the police.

“I want to see them do a good job and care about the community,” one voter said, “and care about the police. It’s very hard to do what they do.”

For more information or to find out who’s on the ballot, check out our Aug. 23 primary election explainer. See something at the polls? Let us know on Twitter at @BrooklynPaper. Check back for live updates throughout the day.

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