Steady Turnout at Harlem Polling Site for Citywide Primary Election

There was a steady morning turnout for the 2021 Citywide Primary at the P.S. 153/Adam Clayton Powell Elementary School polling site in Harlem. Photo by Ariel Pacheco.

The primary is officially underway and voters are piling in all across the city to cast their ballots for mayor, amongst other races. 

At P.S. 153/the Adam Clayton Powell Elementary School polling site on 147th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Harlem, voters streamed in alongside children attending school for the day.

This is the first time ranked-choice voting is being used in New York City, and its implementation has been a hot topic in the final days of the contest. Alexandra Johnson, 27, a poll worker at P.S. 153, said ranked-choice voting has given some voters issues.

“I heard a few people saying it was hard in passing,” she said.

Johnson arrived at 6 a.m. and will be there all day until polls close at 9 p.m. She said that this far there has been a steady stream of people voting. 

“It’s not like how it is on a national level, but there has been a steady stream of people all morning,” said Johnson.

Voters of all ages were at the elementary school-turned-poll site. Besides mayor, the electorate is being asked to cast ballots for comptroller, borough presidents, various City Council seats and the Manhattan District Attorney, and civil court judges. Still, many showed up to mainly focus on the mayoral race.

“I woke up early and came to vote for Maya Wiley today,” said Adrian Benjamin, 23. “I like her vision for the city and wanted to support her.”

Benjamin added that he also ranked two other candidates for mayor, Eric Adams and Andrew Yang. 

“I thought there was a good crop of candidates in this election so it was nice to have choices,” said Benjamin. 

While many voters choose to support candidates based on their policies and plans, some like David Sanchez, 33, choose to vote for candidates who represent them ethnically. 

“I only ranked Eric Adams number one,” said Sanchez. “I think we need a Black man in office, I think that’s important to have someone who can represent me and people who look like me.” 

Sanchez said that the other races weren’t as important to him, but he voted for the candidates he felt would do the best job for the city and represent the voters effectively.

“There are a lot of issues people are dealing with and we need leadership that’s going to fix things.’

Chris Urgiles, 46, is another voter who came to vote for Wiley. He says having a progressive in the mayor’s office is crucial to the City’s recovery from the pandemic. 

“We were hit hard and I just feel like we need big ideas to not only get us back to where we were but for us to also move forward too.”

According to the City’s Board of Elections, 191,000 people voted early in this year’s primary. There have also been over 80,000 absentee ballots cast. 

The BOE said preliminary unofficial results of all scanned ballots and which candidate received the first choice in RCV will be available tonight after the polls close. 

However, it will take some weeks to get the absentee and mail-in votes tabulated as well as the RCV tabulations of those candidates receiving second, third, fourth and fifth-ranked votes. 

The official results of the election are expected by July 12. 

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