Jessica Keltz volunteers for Vito with a smile, left. Esteban Duran gets some sun outside his campaign war room on S. Third Street. — Photos by Aaron Short
One word sums up primary election turnout throughout Bushwick and East Williamsburg this morning and early afternoon: slow. As usual.
Poll workers reported a steady trickle of voters this morning at polling stations from Wyckoff Avenue to Montrose Avenue, though a few problems emerged with the new voting machines.
“I didn’t have the right code for the scanner,” said Christina Tejada, a poll worker at the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center on Stanhope Street. “They didn’t send me an [assembly-district] machine for District 89. I’ve been doing emergency ballots for the district. I called the board of elections and they didn’t give me an answer, other than to tell me to do emergency ballots.”
Other problems occurred at the Rheingold Gardens housing complex — a relatively new polling site — and PS 17 on Roebling Street in Williamsburg, when voting started two to three hours late because the machines did not arrive when polls opened at 6 am.
At PS 250 on Montrose Avenue, everything was running smoothly, according to State Senator Martin Dilan, who was passing out flyers for Vito Lopez in the District Leader race.
Councilwoman Diana Reyna, who is supporting Lopez’s opponent Esteban Duran, agreed.
“Turnout is slow,” said Reyna, ensconced at a middle school on Montrose Avenue and Leonard Street, stumping for Duran. “At the top of the ticket, the governor’s race is unopposed. We clearly have some voter apathy.”
Reyna was considerably less stressed than last year, when she squeaked out a narrow 251-vote victory. Instead she was shaking hands with voters and taking constituent-related calls as they came in.
For the morning, Duran planted himself at PS 19 on the corner of Keap and S. Third Street, running back to his headquarters for occasional updates.
So far, there was no sign of Vito Lopez that morning, though poll workers at Stanhope Street called the clubhouse to alert them that the Board of Elections did not send a machine and sent the wrong paper ballots to use.
“We called Vito. They’ve been notified and they’re working on it,” said a poll worker.