New Yorkers trickle in for early voting in first of two summer primaries

Early voting in June 2022
A sign outside a poll site at the Red Hook Recreation Center in Brooklyn.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

New Yorkers trickled in to polling stations over the weekend to cast their ballots for the first of two primary elections this summer.

Early voting started on Saturday, June 18 for state political offices, such as the governor, lieutenant governor, state assembly members, judges, and party positions.

For the first day, only 10,035 people cast their ballots in the Five Boroughs, according to the city’s Board of Elections, down from 16,867 on the first day of early voting during last year’s primaries for mayor and other city positions.

All city polling cites were marked in green on the BOE’s website Sunday, meaning they had a wait time of less than 20 minutes.

The low numbers are likely due in part to the longer holiday weekend for Juneteenth and Father’s Day, poll workers told amNewYork Metro.

Ahead of the June 28 Primary Day, there are nine days of early voting from June 18-26.

Poll workers fix signs at the Hamilton-Madison House senior center in Two Bridges during the first weekend of early voting on June 19.Photo by Kevin Duggan

Thanks to the state’s redistricting, voters can cast their ballots in two primaries this summer, with another vote coming up on Aug. 23 for the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Senate.

“It’s confusing,” said Manhattanite Caroline Miller after voting at a polling station inside a senior center in Two Bridges. “It seems to be disruptive.”

State and federal district lines across the Big Apple have been redrawn in recent months, spurring new political races and disrupting long-established politicians, including in Miller’s 10th Congressional District, which is wide open after incumbent Congressman Jerry Nadler decided to run against fellow veteran Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in the 12th District uptown.

Around two dozen people had voted at the downtown senior center as of around 3 p.m., according to a Chinese language interpreter at the site.

Over in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a similarly quiet voting station at the neighborhood recreation center had seen about 30 people coming in, according to a poll worker there.

One resident of nearby Carroll Gardens said she always comes out to exercise her democratic right.

“As a Black person, I feel obligated to vote,” said Diane Greene. “People died in the street and all I have to do is vote.”

Richard and Diane Greene cast their ballots early at the Red Hook Recreation Center in Brooklyn on June 19.Photo by Kevin Duggan

Greene declined to say who she voted for to be New York’s next governor, but said that she wanted to keep politicians in check and that gun control was the most important issue for her.

“I think it is important to keep people on their toes. Just because they have a seat doesn’t mean they can keep that seat,” she said.

“We have to do something about gun control, we’re like an uncivilized country,” Greene added.

Her husband agreed that it was crucial to cast their ballot.

“We always vote whether it’s a primary or a general, it’s kind of an automatic thing,” said Richard Greene.

“I have been pretty impressed with Kathy Hochul, I like what she has done, she has a very balanced approach,” he continued. “I don’t blame her for the Buffalo Bills stadium. If I was in her shoes, I would have done the same thing.”

But the Brooklynite was not impressed by the double primary, saying he may not be in town for the August date.

“I think it is ridiculous, they should have consolidated them,” he said. “People aren’t going to be around.”