Election Day for the 2022 midterms is underway in New York City, with voters casting ballots for governor and other key races at more than 14,000 polling places across the Five Boroughs.
The polls opened at 6 a.m., and turnout has varied from light to brisk in some locations. More than 400,000 New York City residents had cast their ballots in the nine-day early voting period that concluded on Sunday, Nov. 6, and hundreds of thousands of other voters opted to cast mailed absentee ballots.
More voters headed to the polls in Brooklyn than in any other borough — with more than 135,000 early votes cast ahead of Election Day. Manhattan was close behind, with over 133,000 voters — while Staten Island came in last with just under 36,000 early birds.
Topping the Election Day contests is the heated governor’s race between Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul and Republican Congress Member Lee Zeldin. Recent polls have suggested the race is much tighter than originally anticipated; Real Clear Politics estimated that going into Election Day, Hochul had averaged a 7-point lead in the polls.
Two other statewide officials are also on the ballot: Democratic Attorney General Letitia James is seeking another four-year term in office against Republican Michael Henry, and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is looking to fend off a challenge from Republican Paul Rodriguez.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is also seeking his fifth-term in the Senate. The Democratic stalwart is being challenged by Republican Joe Pinion.
All of New York state’s 26 Congressional seats are also up for grabs. The two key races in New York City races to watch are in the 11th District, where freshman Republican Congressmember Nicole Malliotakis is looking to hold her seat against the Democrat whom she beat two years ago for the office, Max Rose.
Voters will also choose their Assembly and State Senate representative, and fill several judicial seats. And don’t forget to flip your ballot: there are four questions to answer.
At the polls
Voters are already reporting long lines — and technical issues — at some of Brooklyn’s voting sites.
Right-wing radio host and former City Council candidate Heshy Tischler tweeted just before 9 a.m. asking the city’s Board of Elections to do something to manage the crowds at his Borough Park polling place.
In Williamsburg, voters reported that at least two large polling sites had opened late — driving some would-be voters to leave before they could cast their ballots. Meanwhile, a site in Carroll Gardens was closed not long after it opened due to an issue with a ballot generator. At around 8:30 a.m., a representative for BOE tweeted that technical teams were there to address the issue, and that voting would continue at the site using “established emergency procedures” — contrary to reports on the ground.
Similar outages were reported at the Shorefront Y in Brighton Beach, but as of 9:30 a.m., all appears to be in order.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams headed to P.S. 81 in Bedford-Stuyvesant to cast his vote at around 10:30 a.m. Over the last few weeks, Adams has stepped up his support for Governor Kathy Hochul as her lead in the polls grew slim — on Saturday, the mayor joined party bigwigs including Senator Chuck Schmuer and former president Bill Clinton at a last-minute rally in Downtown Brooklyn.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. We have a governor that’s authentic, that’s real, she’s one of us,” Adams said at the rally. “She doesn’t come from some ivory tower somewhere…this is the moment to carry the ball home.”
As he headed out, Adams told reporters he expects Hochul to win the gubernatorial race tonight.
In southern Brooklyn, a steady flow of voters streamed into Fort Hamilton High School, where the ongoing redistricting drama caused confusion for some voters, a poll worker told Brooklyn Paper. Thousands of people have found themselves drawn into new districts and many didn’t know they had a new poll site and new candidates to vote for. But, the worker said, while voting had been hectic so far — Fort Hamilton High School also served as an early voting site, so it’s been inundated with voters since last week — she was grateful for the elevators and BMD machines that made the poll site and ballots accessible for voters with disabilities.
Bay Ridge is also the site of one of the most-watched Congressional races in the state as Republican incumbent Malliotakis and former congressmember Rose battle it out in the only swing district in New York City. In 2020, Rose lost the seat to Malliotakis after one term — and is hoping that redistricting, which drew some more left-leaning areas into the heavily-Republican district — will work in his favor.
Outside Fort Hamilton High School, voter Ryan Ahmat said he’s not thrilled with either candidate.
“I guess for my voice to be heard despite I support neither candidate…if there were a third body I would vote for him,” Ahmat told Brooklyn Paper on Tuesday afternoon.
The contentious race was swinging the pendulum for some of Ahmat’s neighbors. Jackie, a Bay Ridge voter who asked to be identified by first name only, said she used to vote Democrat – but this year cast her vote for Zeldin and Malliotakis. She’s most concerned about crime, she said — especially on the subway, where she said her children have had incidents that made them feel unsafe.
“Just walking the streets of Bay Ridge lately, it’s changed,” Jackie said. “So we need it back.”
Jenny, a Fort Hamilton High School voter, also cited crime as a primary concern — she, too, is hesitant to use the subway after an incident, and has been avoiding Prospect Park for the same reason.
Outside the poll site at Christ Church in Bay Ridge, retired firefighter Frank Thurlow was volunteering to engage voters on behalf of Malliotakis and Zeldin.
“I just feel we need a change in the city,” Thurlow said. “All I’m saying is a few years ago, I felt a lot safer in the city and I had more money in my pocket. That’s all I’m saying. My whole family was Democratic. My father, my uncle. But the Democratic Party right now, the liberal left wing progressives of the Democratic Party have ruined the Democratic Party.”
He is “comfortable” with Malliotakis’ stances on crime and border security – but doesn’t know Rose’s positions as well.
Lana, a Rose voter, said she was “a bit nervous” about the pivotal election.
“I just want to make sure democracy stays. So I’m a little bit concerned about it,” she said. “I just hope, I just hope the people make the right decision.”
Last year, Malliotakis voted in favor of overturning election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania — and opposed forming a congressional committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attacks.
Julia Larkin, a Rose campaign volunteer, said many voters had told she and her fellow volunteer Tony Stupiello they were planning to vote for Rose.
“I’m pretty optimistic,” Larkin said. “In 2018, when Max won, people said we didn’t have a chance and we proved them wrong then. And I think especially in a district that traditionally leans very conservative, I think this is gonna be a referendum on Jan. 6 and people who voted to decertify the election. I think the choice is clear.”
“It is baffling for me to hear that there is a chance New York will turn red,” said Christine Ramsey, who had just voted at the Brooklyn Museum. “I’m not against all Republican principles, like market-guided solutions for the inflation we are facing, but right now, Republicans have lost track of matters that are critical, like climate change control.”
Even as voters headed to the polls, Hochul was out stumping across New York City. Brooklyn has the highest number of registered Democrats in the five boroughs — so turnout in the borough could be critical if the gubernatorial race is close.
“I think what the voters around New York are recognizing is that they’re looking for results,” said Democratic congressional candidate Dan Goldman, who in August won the party nomination in the crowded NY-10 primary, at a Tuesday afternoon stop at Fulton Mall. “They’re looking for ideas. That they’re not looking for fear and hate. And that’s what Governor Hochul represents. That’s what this slate of Democratic candidates represent. We are consistently the party of ideas and the party of solutions.”
Goldman promised the party would work hard to bring the city and state back to their pre-pandemic state through “cooperation and solutions.”
Long lines at poll sites indicates high voter turnout, Goldman added — a good sign for Democrats since most New York City voters vote blue.
“I’m really happy with the turnout,” Goldman said. “And of course, the way that we save our democracy is by making sure that everybody is out voting and participating in it.”
‘We have never, ever seen this kind of turnout’
Parts of Brooklyn experienced unprecedented turnout Tuesday, according to voters and poll workers, as was the case in Brooklyn Heights and Borough Park.
At the Boro Park YM-YWHA, lines were out the door, even midday. There, voters expressed concerned about crime, antisemitic attacks, and most notably the fate of yeshiva education.
“We have never, ever seen this kind of turnout,” said Zeldin supporter Jacon Bard. “People are waking up, people are sick and tired of the establishment and we want to see them out.”
Bard, a Zeldin supporter, said issues like law and order affect everyone — no matter their political affiliation.
“The government is trying to interfere with the education of yeshivas and all that stuff, that’s the number one issue bringing people to the polls,” he said. “Crime affects everyone, not just Republicans or Democrats. It affects us all.”
Crime was also on the minds of voters in Coney Island, where incumbent Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus is facing off against former Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, and where a steady stream of voters cast their ballots throughout the day.
When asked what issues brought her out to the polls, a voter named Anna at P.S. 90 named crime, education and “inflation as it relates to homelessness.” The three issues, she said, go hand in hand.
“One affects the other,” she said.
Another Borough Park voter named Anne told Brooklyn Paper she agreed with Zeldin’s stances on education.
“I think what [the Hochul administration] wants to teach our children is not something is not something I want my children to be taught,” said the mother of a child in a local yeshiva, baby in tow at the ballot box. “Our children have a very good education, and the government shouldn’t be involved in it.”
Lost in translation
As has been an issue in past elections, many Brooklyn polling sites reported a lack of translators.
At P.S. 90 in Coney Island — a neighborhood known for its high population of Russian-speaking immigrants — there were no Russian translators, despite a clear need for one. Lots of voters brought younger family members along to help them communicate, and there were two Mandarin translators on site.
This story is developing. Check back for updates throughout the day — and results as they come in. As of 4 p.m., the Board of Elections had not responded to press inquiries about any voters’ issues reported on in this story.
Additional reporting by Ethan Stark-Miller