After months of campaigning, Election Day finally arrived in New York on Tuesday, with a Democratic Party primary vote likely to decide the city’s next mayor.
The polls closed on Tuesday night, but there is still a long time to go before New Yorkers learn the name of their next leader, due to the ranked choice vote first used in a New York mayoral election. York. Official results could arrive until July.
Eric Adams, a former police officer, led the polls as thousands headed for the vote on Tuesday.
Voting was slow at Dutch Kills High School in Long Island City on Tuesday morning as a small number of Queens residents arrived to vote, although polls are open until 9 p.m. and early voting either in progress since June 12, a large participation was still expected.
Min Kwon, 26, voted for Maya Wiley, a civil rights lawyer who has emerged as the leading progressive candidate in recent weeks.
“Her stance on the police department, funding it in a meaningful way, is something I really love about her,” Kwon said, adding that he supported Wiley’s positions on LGBTQ + rights, housing rights. and racial justice.
Dianne Morales, a former progressive nonprofit leader and critical police colleague but whose campaign was derailed by infighting, was her second choice.
An election season that began with calls for at least partial funding for the New York Police Department has pivoted in recent weeks, as a spate of shootings tipped the debate in the opposite direction and helped propel Adams, a centrist who criticized the police, “and supports the widely hated stop-and-frisk police tactic, which leads the polls.
Wiley avoided using the term “fund the police,” but would cut at least $ 1 billion from the NYPD budget – which was $ 5.8 billion last year, its highest level ever – and transfer money to social programs and mental health workers.
Most of the candidates proposed policies to try to reduce police brutality, although they differed on how this would be achieved.
“I don’t think the police here in New York should be as big as they are now. Especially for the homeless situation, mental illness or things like that, there are other resources that we can divert police funds to to help that, ”Kwon said.
Kwon said when choosing his candidate that he asked himself, “When do I really feel safe when the police are nearby?” And I don’t feel safe when the police are around, especially as a person of color. “
About 800,000 people are expected to vote in the Democratic primary, according to the New York Times, which would be an increase from the last competitive mayors’ primary in 2013. Given the city’s left-wing political leanings, the winner of the primary will almost certainly win the actual elections in November.
After the polls close at 9 p.m., the New York Council of Elections planned to release partial results of votes cast in person, but this initial image could be misleading as it will only include data on candidates ranked as the top pick. .
The ranked choice system, approved for use in New York City’s 2019 referendum primary and special elections, allowed voters to rank up to five candidates on their ballot.
Cali Howitt, 39, voted for Kathryn Garcia, a former New York sanitation commissioner who climbed in the polls after being endorsed by the New York Times and the New York Daily News.
“I like his experience,” Howitt said.
“I feel like we need someone with experience even though we need a change from what we currently have, I want someone with experience within the government and knows how it works, and that basically doesn’t come out of nowhere. “
Howitt chose Sean Donovan, the Obama administration’s housing and urban development secretary, as her second choice – “for essentially the same reasons,” she said – and welcomed the introduction of the vote. classified choice.
“I really like it because your vote counts even when your first person has been eliminated from the race,” she said.
Andrew Yang, tech entrepreneur and long-time 2020 presidential candidate, topped the polls for weeks before Adams became the lead candidate in May. The latest poll suggests Adams has widened a gap over rivals, with Wiley, Garcia and Yang just behind.
On Tuesday night, the winner of the advance poll and the day’s ballots are expected to be revealed, before the mail-in votes are counted, and then the second-choice and potentially third, fourth, and fifth-choice votes continue.
By July 12, after months of campaigning and weeks after the primary, New Yorkers should finally know who their next mayor is.
The Associated Press contributed reporting