Voter turnout appeared as slow as experts had predicted with few casting ballots Tuesday in the gubernatorial Democratic primary and a handful of local third-party races across Long Island, according to poll workers.
Some registered Democrats in Suffolk County said they cast their votes for Fordham University professor Zephyr Teachout, who joined comedian Randy Credico in challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic line, after becoming disenchanted with the governor. Others noted how much more every vote counts when turnout is so low. Official voter turnout statistics won’t be available until after the polls close at 9 p.m.
“I would have normally voted for Andrew Cuomo but today I did not as an expression of protest,” Rob Ingraham, a 62-year-old longtime Northport resident, told the Press. “I didn’t like the fact that he wouldn’t debate…when he comes out and says, ‘Debates don’t serve us…’ This is not the Andrew Cuomo I have come to know and respect.”
At the Northport-East Northport School District administration building that served as his polling place, Ingraham was one of 37 voters as of 10 a.m., most of whom were Democrats.
Nassau and Suffolk Democratic Party leaders estimated that turnout could be as low as below 10 percent and as high as 15 percent.
Kat Lichter of East Islip, where poll workers also described turnout as slow, said she additionally cast her vote for Teachout because of her opposition to Common Core, the controversial new education standards.
“Andrew Cuomo is letting us all down,” Lichter said. “He ran as a man for the students, and Common Core has only hurt the students. My main issue is education.”
Back in Northport, 65-year-old Art Shea, a registered Conservative, noted the importance of an educated electorate after picking his favorite candidates in local judicial races. After seeing the low turnout, he joked: “My vote probably counts today!
Jim Mahoney, a Northport poll worker, said that even with four parties holding primary races—Working Families Party and Independence Party were the other two—it was not unusual for the polls to be a ghost town during the primaries.
“Primary tends to be a quiet day,” Mahoney said.