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Thursday, October 2, 2014
Primary '14

Only most dedicated show up for ballot

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Grace Amoye votes in the 13th congressional district Democratic primary at Vladeck Hall on Van Cortlandt Park South on Tuesday.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Rep. Charles Rangel signs up to cast his vote on Tuesday morning at the Henry HighlandGarnet School, P.S. 175 in Harlem.
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Amalgamated Housing Cooperative resident Grace Amoye says she has regularly voted since becoming a U.S. citizen in 1987. 

Her participation in the Tuesday Democratic primary between Rep. Charles Rangel and his challengers put her in a decided minority. She was among just a few dozen voters who had come to the polling site at Vladeck Hall, located at 74 Van Cortlandt Park South, as of about 8:20 a.m.

Ms. Amoye, 77, nevertheless seemed unshaken in her devotion to voting.

“I’m being a good citizen,” the native of Jamaica said. “If you don’t [vote], you don’t effect changes.”

While final Board of Elections (BOE) numbers were not available, turnout in the Bronx part of the district appeared to be on track to be on par with, if not greater than it was in 2012, when state Sen. Adriano Espaillat first challenged Mr. Rangel.

An election observer said 567 people had voted at Vladeck Hall by the time balloting ended at 9 p.m. Ian Hoffmann, an observer for the good government group Common Cause said in 2012, 477 people came to the same site.

It was not clear how turnout in Upper Manhattan, where most of the 13th congressional district lies, would compare between this year and the last primary. In 2012, only 8.7 percent of all constituents showed up to vote.

The low turnout did not mean the day was devoid of color. During a Tuesday morning visit to Vladeck Hall, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz clashed with Mr. Hoffmann.

The observer told Mr. Dinowitz, who supports Mr. Espaillat, that he was electioneering too close to a voting site. Voting law restricts the handing out of flyers and similar activities to at least 100 feet away from voting sites.

“To have elected officials standing in front of a poll site with literature is clearly electioneering,” Mr. Hoffman said several hours after the clash.

While Mr. Dinowitz said he had pro-Espaillat materials in hand as he stood on the sidewalk just outside the entrance to Vladeck Hall, he insisted he was not electioneering, but chatting with people he knows from the neighborhood.

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