Another Election Day is here, and this time Brooklyn residents headed to the polls for the general election to vote for who will represent their local districts, the borough, and the city.
Polls were open from 6 am to 9 pm on Tuesday, with preliminary results expected later in the evening. Early voting took place from Oct. 23 to Oct. 31, and 47,547 Brooklyn residents — about 28 percent of 169,879 early voters citywide — took advantage of it, according to the unofficial count from the New York City Board of Elections (BOE).
While the competitive primary election in June used ranked-choice voting (RCV) for the first time, the general election did not. Voters across Brooklyn chose just one candidate for each seat on their ballot.
What was on the ballot?
Voters chose between candidates for mayor — a contest that pits Democratic Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams against Republican challenger Curtis Sliwa.
The election also featured less competitive races for Comptroller (which Park Slope Councilmember Brad Lander is slated to win), and Brooklyn District Attorney (which current DA Eric Gonzalez figures to win).
In addition, voters voiced their opinions on a handful of ballot initiatives (more info here).
There is also set to be huge turnover in the City Council, as a majority of members are term-limited out of office come January. While many Democratic candidates are expected to handily win their races, there are some Council districts — primarily in southern Brooklyn — where Republican challengers could stand a chance.
Few hiccups, fewer choices
Voters reported few hiccups as of 11 am — crowds were sparse, voting sites were adequately staffed and most scanners were working as intended, a far cry of some past elections where the Board of Elections has been accused of dropping the ball.
Ft Hamilton Senior Center polling place is walk-in, walk-out.
Took more time focusing my aging eyes on the ballot than it did to go in and vote!
— Erik Shell (@Erik_Shell) November 2, 2021
Many of the voters Brooklyn Paper spoke to Tuesday morning said they wished there were more options in some of the city’s bigger races.
“I don’t think we have enough choice, there’s not many progressive candidates on the ballot,” said Devin Perera, who cast his ballot at MS 88 in South Slope. “And I think the ballot proposals are interesting but there’s a bunch of things lumped in, so you could agree with one part but not all of it. I don’t feel like I have that much choice in the matter.”
Voter Amber Sather also hoped to see some more progressive candidates on her ballot, but she still voted down the Democratic party line, ultimately casting her vote for Eric Adams.
“I was hoping for somebody more progressive who wanted to offer more reform for policing,” she said.
Other voters at St. Mark Catholic Academy in Sheepshead Bay disagreed with the need for more progressives on the ballot.
“I’m kind of frightened,” said Arlene, who declined to give her last name but told Brooklyn Paper that while she voted for Adams, she’s not quite sure what to expect over the next four years. “I’m kind of frightened. I’m living here all my life, and I’ve never seen New York State as it is now.”
Still, many had positive attitudes about exercising their right to vote — and the future of New York City.
“Voting in general is great, so it feels great,” said Andrea Standrowicz at MS 88. “I’m not so thrilled with the ballot choices, I guess, but I’m voting!”
A southern Brooklyn poll worker originally from the Philippines expressed similar joy in casting his ballot.
“The one thing I learned coming here was I really felt like I wanted to exercise my freedom of expression,” said Guy, who asked not to use his last name. “The one thing I want to do is make the place I live in better for everybody.”
“It seems every candidate that goes forward is a lot more involved and a lot more learned from everything we’ve gone through already as a city,” he added. “There’s no direction but up.”
Passing the torch
Mayor Bill de Blasio cast his vote in the Nov. 2 general election Tuesday in Park Slope, where he predicted Borough President Eric Adams would be the next mayor. After casting his vote shortly after noon at the neighborhood library on Sixth Avenue, the mayor encouraged all New Yorkers to vote — and teased a potential run for another office in his future.
“It feels good to vote, I encourage all New Yorkers to get out and vote until 9 o’clock,” he said.
Lost in translation
Councilmember Mark Treyger on Tuesday pointed to a lack of translators at a number of polling sites across his district, which is comprised of Coney Island, Gravesend, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst and Sea Gate, where there are large populations of non-English speaking constituents.
The politician told Brooklyn Paper that he visited a handful of locations in the morning and early afternoon, and that only some of them had Russian translators.
“The number of Russian-speaking voters I encountered was just extraordinary in the sense that they are asking basic questions at the information desk, very basic questions that could very easily be answered at an information booth with translators,” said Treyger, who stressed that while the city does allocate money in the budget for polling site translators, the onus ultimately falls on state government when there is no legal mandate.
“The only entity that has the power to require them to provide Russian translators, and other languages as well, is the New York State Government in Albany, which I think is really failing on this issue,” Treyger said.
The outgoing councilmember, who has endorsed former aide and current Democratic candidate Ari Kagan for his seat, also alerted Brooklyn Paper to this issue during the April primaries and has been a fierce advocate in previous years for interpreters to be allowed inside polling sites instead of remaining 100 feet away from the entrance.
“This is a continuing failure on the part of the Board of Elections,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “This is an unnecessary barrier that is in front of many voters and families and I really urge Albany to get its act together and pass a law once and for all and require translators where needed.”
Polls are closed
Polls officially closed at 9 pm, though anyone still online is encouraged to stay online. Few candidates have discussed the results yet, but voter turnout patterns suggest an expected win for many Democratic candidates.
With reporting by Ben Brachfeld, Jessica Parks and Ben Verde
This story is developing. Follow along with Brooklyn Paper throughout the day for more on what’s going on at the polls, and for results as they come in. Tips to [email protected].