SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Without a hotly contested race to vote on, residents living in the recently redrawn 16th Congressional District did not make it a priority early in the day Tuesday to go to the polls in the Democratic congressional primary.
Polls opened at 6 a.m.; they close at 9 p.m. In Scarsdale, as of 6 p.m., only 31 votes had been cast in the primary between Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) - formerly of the 17th District – and Aniello Grimaldi, a veteran lawyer of nearly four decades.
At the Tuckahoe Community Center, where Eastchester and Tuckahoe residents can choose a candidate, only 71 votes were cast.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be a busy day," poll worker Judy Watiker said. "We spoke to a lady at a different location who only had two voters at noon. We weren’t expecting a large turnout. We thought we’d see more people who stopped in on their way to the train station.”
With such a small sample size, it’s tough to get a firm grasp on who stands to be the next Democratic candidate hoping to represent the district. One voter mentioned Engel’s 24-year career in Congress as a reason she chose him.
“The Democratic race is especially important,” she said. “It’s an unknown quality versus an experienced person. He has already served other districts and done well for them. I expect [Engel] will do a good job for us.”
Poll workers at both locations noted residents’ apparent lack of interest in voting in the primary, reminding residents that voting is an important right that citizens should exercise. With a few hours still before polls closed, they said they were hopeful more voters would take time to cast a ballot.
“It’s such a privilege to vote, and to not take advantage of that right in 15 hours [that polls are open] baffles me,” Watiker said. “It only takes 10 minutes to do something people in other countries die to do. Come November, people will still be mad and complain about who’s on the ballot.”