THE POLLS ARE OPEN: Election Day turnout strong as New Yorkers make their midterm choices

Election Day voting
Voters wait on line at Washington Square 3 in Greenwich Village on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.
Photo by Isabel Song Beer

Election Day in the 2022 midterm elections 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 been solid through first nine hours of voting, according to the New York City Board of Elections data. Approximately 696,473 voters checked-in on Election Day as of 3 p.m. Nov. 8, surpassing the 432,634 votes cast during the nine-day early voting period that concluded on Sunday, Nov. 6. 

The early voting and Election Day turnout combined alone exceeds the 1.1 million voters who participated in the 2021 mayoral election. Hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots have also been submitted.

Based on Board of Elections data, Brooklyn has had the highest Election Day turnout of the boroughs thus far, with 225,633 voters checked-in. They were followed by Queens with 173,111 Election Day votes, Manhattan with 165,398, The Bronx with 80,481, and Staten Island with 51,850.

The Bronx Election Day turnout through the first nine hours of voting on Nov. 8 far was more than twice 39,069 early votes cast in the borough.

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 surveys.

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 Congress Member Nicole Malliotakis is looking to hold her seat against the Democrat whom she beat two years ago for the office, Max Rose.

Part of eastern Queens is also voting in the hotly-contested 3rd Congressional District race, where Democrat Robert Zimmerman and Republican George Santos are looking to succeed the outgoing Tom Suozzi on Capitol Hill.

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.

The Board of Elections will release preliminary results of the election beginning Tuesday evening. The figures will include votes submitted on Election Day and during early voting. Many of the mailed absentee ballots may not be counted for a few days.

As a result, the League of Women Voters New York City chapter reminds everyone to be patient. 

“And while absentee ballots will be counted a little quicker this year, it still takes time to verify and allow voters to ‘cure’ any technical mistakes. The certified results from the NYC Board of Elections may not be available for several weeks after Election Day,” said Deborah Brodheim and Kai Rosenthal, co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of the City of New York, in a joint statement. “We ask that all voters in New York City be patient and allow the BOE to complete its process. … We would like to reassure voters that New York State elections are secure and reliable. New York’s election process is administered by a dedicated team of election workers. Workers representing both major parties oversee every aspect of the election process, including ballot counting, a standard practice nationwide to provide appropriate checks and balances.”

Reaction in Manhattan

Some Manhattan voters got an early start to their day, heading to the polls to make their voices heard.

Photo by Dean Moses

“I’m glad I’m on blood pressure medication because I have anxiety. As it gets closer to the time of voting I get nervous, there’s so much rhetoric, so much hostility and so much negativity it starts to make me wonder what the hell is going on. But I come out and vote, it’s our civic duty to do it. Every vote counts no matter what people might think,” said Janet Alvarez, a voter at Chelsea’s IS 70 polling site. “Kathy, she’s a smart woman. She took over for Cuomo after his nonsense and she’s busted her ass. What she’s done after somebody messed up, she’s picked up all the poopoo so to speak. I like her, she’s efficient, she’s competent, she’s honest, and for me she’s reliable. I don’t care what Zeldin says. He came out of nowhere, he’s a Trumpster, and anything related to Trump, I know people like him but I can’t take it. Trump and his party give me high anxiety.”

“This was my first time voting in this state and I’ve been following the news so it was super worrisome to me to hear about a literal candidate for governor really shamelessly revealing his prejudices and maybe even his racism,” said Elliot, a voter at the Franciscan Friars Padua Friary polling location in Greenwich Village. “My girlfriend isn’t voting in this state but we went through a voter guide she found for me and that really helped me learn more about the people running for office. I didn’t know anything about the different stuff on the ballots until we read the voter guide so that really helped. I’m a Black man so making sure that race issues are taken seriously in government is also super super important to me, but to be honest, if I didn’t have help, I probably wouldn’t have known to vote for that stuff.”

“There are many many things at stake at this point. I think our rights could be stripped in many ways. My reproductive rights especially are something I am concerned about. Inflation is crazy and many people are struggling,” another voter at the Franciscan Friars Padua Friary polling location said. “We employ a lot of immigrant workers and it is important to ensure that, while they are citizens and are documented, that we vote to protect them and their communities as well.”

“About $145 billion went last year to mitigating the climate change crisis and disasters and that is the number one thing I am concerned about. I’m disappointed that [Governor Hochul] has had such a poor ground game. I live upstate part-time and Lee Zeldin flooded the zone, even though his ideas were reprehensible to me. Hochul ran a very poor campaign. She thought that she was in such great shape that she didn’t bother and that’s really not acceptable,” said Joel, a voter at the Washington Square Village 3 polling place.

“Honestly I wasn’t planning on voting but I passed a polling place on my way to work and thought f–k it. I will admit I wasn’t fully informed on the issues at hand on the ballot but I wanted to participate in the governor’s election,” said a voter at the Church of St Anthony of Padua polling site. “In my opinion, that Zeldin guy represents a lot of what I disagree with, but I also am not super impressed with [Hochul] either. I voted for her since she seemed like the lesser of the two evils.”

“I don’t really participate in elections usually because I live here in New York and I didn’t really think my vote made much of a difference, but my roommate schooled me on this election and so I decided to vote for Governor Hochul this election. I think that her opponent Lee Zeldin is actually dangerous,” said Cameron, a voter at the Church of St Anthony of Padua polling site. “Like, the stuff he’s said especially about that guy who was shot by the police really disgusted me and I wanted to make sure I was on the right side of history for this. I had some trouble figuring out and navigating the other stuff on the ballot but I had some voting guide I looked at for a second and just tried my best.”

“I’m feeling a little bit anxious honestly. I didn’t think it would be this close and I didn’t think people would be so enthusiastic about Lee Zeldin. I’m concerned, especially as a woman in New York State,” said Jessica Horowitz, a voter at the IS 70 polling site in Chelsea. “The possibility of an abortion ban is horrifying, and the idea of bringing a don’t say gay law to New York State is crazy. I grew up here, and I can’t really conceive of such a thing. But this is the America we’re living in.”

Photo by Dean Moses

“I don’t like the fact that Roe v Wade was overturned,” Monica Leard, a voter at the Church of Holy Trinity polling site, said. “I thought that Kathy Hochul was going to be a sort of runaway with this. I hope people come out and vote and do the right thing.”

Angela Workman says she supports Hochul for Governor due to her stance on crime.

“She has been doing such a great job. I mean, she was handed a plate of a lot of misinformation a lot of dysfunction. And she’s making sense of everything and putting the pieces back together,” Workman said.

Workman shared with amNewYork Metro that she has been a victim of assault and is a staunch supporter of Hochul’s efforts on crime.

“She just picks up where people don’t look in the corners of dysfunction in the city and she looks at it. She puts first the crime in the city. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been a victim. So I’ve seen the changes,” Workman said, “I was attacked a month ago by a homeless man, and I feel like she’s really going to help the crime in the city and she’s dedicated.”

Photo by Dean Moses
Photo by Dean Moses

“The most important issue is to make sure that our democracy continues, that we have a peaceful transfer of power, that all votes are counted, and that we still have a democracy,” Donna G said.

Donna waited until election day to cast her vote since she had some concerns regarding early voting.

“I think I was a little bit concerned that my vote would get this discounted if I voted early, I felt a little safer voting on Election Day.”

“The issues for me are no different than they are for a lot of people. You want to certainly ensure that the economy is humming along and that the city is a safe and happy place to live. And also, you know, you’re doing your democratic duty, and it couldn’t be more important than that,” an Upper East sider said who took his dog Otis with him to fill out his ballot.

He joked that he is a Democrat but his dog is a Republican. The pet owner also said that he wasn’t very impressed with the turnout but added the day is still early.

“At this time of day, you’re gonna get people that can vote at this time of day. Come back at 6:30 and ask me then,” he said.

When it came to flipping the ballot, voters have given mixed responses to amNewYork Metro reporters.

“It is important to me, but on the other hand I’m voting on a merit base so I have to balance the two,” said Joel.

“I actually didn’t vote for anything other than the governor’s race because I just didn’t think much else really impacted me and I didn’t have time to really do some research and I didn’t want to make a mistake so I just didn’t vote for that stuff. I just wanted to be in and out as quick as possible,” said the voter at the Church of St Anthony of Padua.

Updated at 3:39 p.m.

A furry friend waits while her human votes at the Church of Holy Trinity, 316 East 88 Street. Photo by Dean Moses
A child stands by while people vote at the Church of Holy Trinity, 316 East 88 Street. Photo by Dean Moses
Voting at the Church of Holy Trinity, 316 East 88 Street. Photo by Dean Moses
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

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