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Strong voter turnout on Election Day in Queens

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Richmond Hill residents cast their ballots at PS 90.
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Voters cast their ballots at Bayside High School.
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There was also a high voter turnout at PS 56Q.
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Voters hit the polls early at St. Margaret School in Middle Village.

We’ve got you covered with live updates throughout the day regarding the 2018 midterm elections. Here’s the latest:

Richmond Hill residents don’t let rain keep them from polls

Whether they were on their way to work or running errands, Richmond Hill residents stopped by their polling sites in Tuesday’s midterm elections to cast their ballots.

Voters made their way into PS 90 — located at 86-50 109th St. — which had a higher voter turnout compared to the previous election, according to Poll Coordinator Jeffrey P.

“We’ve seen more people come in for this one, and am pretty sure there will be more later on in the evening after work,” Jeffrey said. “So far, we’ve had about 86 votes since 6 a.m. People are coming and going.”

So far, voting has been smooth at the polling site, where workers are waiting to assist voters with their ballots containing written instructions.

As she walked out with her sticker, Jasmine H. said she voted for “fairness and equality for everyone.”

Angela M. said every vote counts, and people should come out if they want to change things for the better in the country.

Meanwhile, just five blocks down, PS 56 — located at 86-10 114th St. — counted 200 votes since 6 a.m.

Richard Iritano, a French, Chinese and Spanish language interpreter, said they have seen a steady stream of voters since 6 a.m.

“For the primary there was less people which is a shame because that counts, but today people are coming in every 10 minutes and this is just the morning crowd,” said Iritano.

First time voter Tony G. came out to the polls because he’s “disgusted with the president.”

“I’m not surprised in his behavior and what he believes in,” said Tony. “But I’m amazed so many people seem to be okay with it, and I voted for fairness and equality...and healthcare is definitely an issue that I care about.”

Mary Ellen was proud to wear her sticker after casting her ballot.

“I always vote. It is an honor and privilege to vote,” said Ellen. “The values that I feel are being lost given the whole tone of our country are civil respect, the welcoming of strangers, and care of the most poorest and vulnerable among us...it’s all lost.”

— Carlotta Mohamed

Voter turnout strong in Queens Village

Voters were waiting patiently on line shoulder to shoulder at PS 34 as they tried to cast their ballot in Queens Village.

Despite heavy rainfall in the morning, the gymnasium at the elementary school — located at 104-12 Springfield Blvd. — was jam-packed with as many as 1,346 citizens had already voted by 10:30 a.m. as hundreds more waited to cast their votes.

The school was packed since it opened at 6 a.m. according to Bidya Nauth, the poll site coordinator. Mostly seniors came at that time, but more middle-aged folks and a few young people came in the morning.

For every young person that came in the morning there were at least 50 middle-aged or senior folks, according to Nauth. The poll site was so busy that some voters had to sit in the school cafeteria for 10 to 20 minutes until there was enough space in the gymnasium.

“All types of people came out here, but the younger folks go to work or school first and usually come around 6 p.m.,” said to Nauth. “School and jobs come first.”

Seniors with canes and walkers flowed into the school, as well as a nun from the local convent, middle-aged women with hijabs, and some West Indian parents with their children in tow. There were also Spanish and Haitian Creole interpreters at the site ready to help voters who struggled with understanding the ballot.

President Donald Trump was on the minds of many voters this year.

“I came out to vote because I want to have a good president,” said Eldonna Thomas of Queens Village.

Kettly Roche from Queens Village was more explicit about her goal for voting.

“To control Trump,” said Roche. “That is my reasoning.”

Leroy Gadsden, the president of the Jamaica branch of the NAACP was also at the poll site.

“I’m from St. Albans, but we are all over the place — [the NAACP] has 20 legal observers out today, because historically poll sites with higher minority turnout have faced attempts to suppress the vote,” said Gadsden. “We come out on election to make sure that everybody is playing fair and playing by the rules.”

Many African-Americans since the dawn of this country’s history have died for the right for the privilege to vote in this democracy, according to Gadsden.

“We just want to make sure that everybody has a right to vote,” said Gadsden. “The Board of Elections makes sure that the machines are working and nobody is being harassed.”

In this neighborhood’s past, officers were sent in uniform to intimidate people of color at polling sites, according to Gadsden.

“We just want to make sure the 1965 Voting Rights are protected,” said Gadsden who was proud of the huge number of voters in southeast Queens. “I love it. I’ve been here, St. Albans, and Cambria Heights and people are reporting to me and I love the turnout. This is what democracy is about.”

— Naeisha Rose

Middle Village sees boost in early-morning voters

The poll site at St. Margaret School in Middle Village saw in turnout what the coordinator deemed was much higher than normal for a small location.

Up to 100 people had voted since it opened at 6 a.m. and a steady flow of residents continued on throughout the morning.

One voter who identified himself as Jermain said local issues were not the main draw for him to get out and vote. It was the desire to for representatives who will bring the country together.

“I’m voting for people I think will try to bring the people of the country closer together,” he said. “Locally we’ve been blessed with pretty decent representa­tives.”

According to the poll site coordinator, although the voting precinct is heavy on the Democratic side, turnout for the September primary saw more Republicans.

The polling site is situated within the district of State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a Democrat facing a challenge from career military man, Tom Sullivan.

Joe Cimino turned out to support the initiatives of President Donald Trump, particularly on the matter of immigration.

“I would like people who are more on Trump’s side on the immigrant issue and keeping things moving along with his plan,” Cimino said.

Cimino hopes his picks for state Senate would lead to lower property taxes to prevent New Yorkers from having to relocate.

— Mark Hallum

Updated 12:07 pm, November 6, 2018
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