Manhattanites far outpaced the other four boroughs on the first day of early voting, as New Yorkers headed out in low numbers to cast their ballot for the second round of primaries this year.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, 4,631 people from Manhattan did their civic duty, more than half of the total 9,087 votes, according to the city’s Board of Elections, even though the borough makes up less than one fifth of the city’s population.
Turnout on day one was slightly below the 10,035 votes during the first day of early voting in the June primary, and just around half the tally of last year’s mayoral election, when nearly 17,000 headed to the ballot box.
The most populous borough, Brooklyn, clocked 2,450 votes, followed by Staten Island at 811, 619 in the Bronx and lastly Queens at just 576 — even though the World’s Borough has the second largest number of residents.
Manhattan has usually led the pack in recent elections but not by that much, which could be due to a pair of high profile congressional races to represent the island thanks to redrawn districts lines.
A rare vacant seat in New York’s reconfigured 10th Congressional District led to a crowded race to represent Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn’s western waterfront.
Uptown, two veteran Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney — who each have served 30 years in the House — are vying for the new 12th Congressional District, along with upstart candidate Suraj Patel.
The August vote is for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Senate in Albany, two months after New Yorkers voted for state offices like the governor and the state Assembly in June.
The double primary is thanks to the chaotic redistricting process the Empire State underwent this year, with electoral maps shifting several times.
With a few exceptions, the primary winners are almost guaranteed to sail to victory in deep-blue New York City.
Voters at a polling site inside the Campos Plaza Community Center in Alphabet City, which is on the border of the two competitive Manhattan districts, called the split elections confusing and said they were happening at a bad time when many people leave town for the summer.
“It was just a mess,” said Deborah Wye. “Most people are away now.”
The Stuyvesant Town resident said she had wanted to vote for a woman, but ended up deciding on Nadler after reading about his foreign policy stances of voting against the Iraq war and for a nuclear deal with Iran.
“I felt a lot of good candidates went against each other,” Wye said.
The East Sider was swayed by the endorsement of the New York Times editorial board, which dropped its much awaited list of preferred candidates Saturday.
The Gray Lady’s influential backing went to Nadler in the 12th District, and in the 10th for Dan Goldman, an heir to the fortune of the Levi Strauss clothing company and a former federal prosecutor and lead counsel for Democrats during the first impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Its choice to support white men in some of the most diverse parts of the country and with several women and people of color running for those offices drew criticism from other candidates.
“I’m running for Congress so that our country can finally live up to the promise of a true representative democracy. That can’t happen if we lack the political courage to challenge long-held beliefs about who I best suited to hold office,” wrote New York 10 candidate and Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou in a statement after the endorsement’s release.
Another voter said he chose Nadler because he felt he was a better champion of LGBTQ rights than Maloney, who is currently his representative.
“I’ve always been in Maloney’s district, but I voted for Nadler because of his record on LGBTQ issues,” said Lee Whelchel.
One voter in the 10th District, who opted for former Congresswoman Liz Holtzman, said it was important to come out for the local and midterm elections.
“It affects us more directly than the presidential election,” said Alphabet City resident Carrie Milian. “They more directly affect our community.”
Early voting will continue through Sunday, Aug. 21, followed by primary day scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 23.