STATE ISLAND, NY – Polling stations across Staten Island were busy on Tuesday with voters wanting to cast their ballots on election day.
This year, candidates are running for many city offices in New York – including the next mayor, Staten Island city president and all three city council seats on the city council.
Polling stations opened at 6 in the morning, and Advance / SILive.com visited both PS 36 in Annadale and PS 78 in Stapleton, where turnout was high.
Voters stressed that voting is a civic duty of a US citizen. Many also said they are ready for a new mayor to make changes and “unite” New York City again, citing concerns over divisive mandates for coronavirus (COVID-19).
“I think it’s always important to vote,” said Ellen Cooper, a city worker who voted on PS 78. “We are city workers, so who the mayor is, who our councilors are, really have, as you can see in the last 10 days, make a huge difference. “
She explained that election day is more important than ever in the midst of the pandemic, especially as decisions are made about things like coronavirus vaccine mandates. On Friday, the controversial vaccine mandate went into effect for all city workers, sparking protests, leading to FDNY companies being taken offline due to staff shortages and more.
Andrew Garcia, who voted on PS 36, Annadale, said election day gives “everyone the opportunity to contribute” to influence the future.
“Especially for elections like this – it has the power to change our lives,” he said. “Hopefully the candidates [for mayor] observed what the former mayor did to see if they could make a better change in what they did, or maybe they could bring something else and maybe have a better impact on Staten Island. “
Louis Fricke of Annadale also cast his vote Tuesday because it is a “fundamental right as a U.S. citizen.”
“I will never, ever say that it does not matter,” he said, referring to the importance of voting. “That is what we all fought for. Without it, there is no democracy.”
He added that he hopes the next elected mayor “will hopefully be able to make changes.”
Abby Agboola, who is a healthcare provider, cast her vote on PS 78. She noted that it is important for people to be vaccinated to stay healthy, but that people should have a choice.
“As a health nurse, I call for vaccination, but it’s a free country, you can not demand it,” she said, adding that she hopes the next mayor will help find some sort of middle ground when it comes to mandates for urban workers.
“I hope we have a better mayor who can unite the city,” Agboola said.
Polling stations are open until 21.00. State Islanders can use the city’s pollster finder to see where to cast their vote on Tuesday.
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