Queens residents came out in record numbers in the November general election and the borough’s Democratic leadership wants to make sure that their votes count.
With the nation’s eyes fixed on TV and smart phone screens watching for changes on the electoral map, the Queens County Democratic Party reminded voters during a press conference on Thursday that local races remain up in the air as well and that, no matter what, every vote needs to be counted every race.
Led by Chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport), the group condemned President Donald Trump’s attempts to stop the vote count. They called it an attempt to stifle the country’s democratic process and said that to uphold the nation’s ideals, every vote needs to be counted in the presidential and local elections –– including in the local races where the Democratic candidates may have an obvious win or may be neck and neck with their opponent.
“Today is not about partisan politics, necessarily. It’s about us all saying that we must protect our democracy whether you are Democrat or Republican, whether you’re Jew, Christian or Muslim, whatever you are, whether you’re black, yellow or red. The bottom line is that your vote should be counted,” said City Councilmember Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens), the declared winner of the Queens Borough President race.
Most of the races have been called in favor of the Democratic candidate already, including the Queens Borough President race in which Richards took nearly 70% of the vote, according to unofficial results. However, there were still three outstanding tight races –– where the absentee vote count could change the outcome.
“What is significant is not how long it takes. It’s that the count is right when it’s done, it’s that the count is fair when it’s done,” said Meeks about outstanding ballots.
According to unofficial results, Congressman Thomas Suozzi (D-Little Neck, Whitestone, Glen Oaks and Floral Park, parts of Long Island) iss trailing behind Republican candidate George Santos, State Assemblymember Edward Braunstein (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Bayside Hills, Broadway-Flushing, Douglaston, Floral Park, Glen Oaks, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Whitestone) is losing to Republican candidate John-Alexander Sakelos and State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) is holding a narrow lead in his race against his Republican opponent, Thomas P. Sullivan.
The race outcomes will look very different once all the ballots are counted, said State Senator John Liu (D-Northeast Queens), especially in the races where the Democratic incumbent appears to be losing such as in Braunstein’s district.
He reminded the crowd that Democratic voters in particular were encouraged to vote by mail with an absentee ballot because of the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans, on the other hand, were more likely to vote in person.
“That is just simply the red mirage. The red mirage was long predicted for months,” said Liu, in reference to the Republican lead. “When we count those ballots, the democratic vote will be much much higher.”
Richards, the declared winner of the Queens Borough President race, said that every vote in his race should be counted even though it’s been called in his favor already.
“They declared me, the winner. Whether you voted for me or not. Your vote matters, and it should be counted,” said Richards.