By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Voter turnout was high at polling places throughout Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in this historic presidential election, with some residents saying that crowds seemed to surpass even those from 2008. Although some sites throughout the city reported broken scanners, voters at the ST/PCV polling places T&V visited on Tuesday morning said that the worst problems they faced were long lines, and many said that it wasn’t a burden to wait.
“I feel like it’s my moral duty to vote,” said Peter Cooper Village resident Max Hague, noting that he cast his vote for Hillary Clinton. “I voted because I don’t want to live in a fascist country.”
Twenty-five out of the 26 people that T&V spoke with on the morning of the election voted for Clinton. The lone Donald Trump supporter was Stuyvesant Town resident Mario, who declined to give his last name.
“I’m a registered Republican and believe in lower taxes and less government,” he said, adding that he also voted for Trump in the primaries.
Most voters T&V spoke with, however, felt that it wasn’t a difficult decision given the two candidates.
“One choice is trigger happy and the other has several years of experience,” Peter Cooper Village resident Joyce Wagner said. “This is a bigger deal than eight years ago because while the alternative wasn’t good then, it wasn’t as bad as Trump.”
One Peter Cooper Village resident said that he was voting for the “not crazy” candidate and when pressed, clarified that he was voting for Clinton.
A woman named Jo, who has been a Peter Cooper Village resident since 1968, said that she was proud to cast her vote for Clinton.
“Much of the negative information we got about her wasn’t fact-checked and wasn’t true, and Trump has made this a dishonest campaign,” she said. “I voted for Hillary because I like living in a democracy.”
Stuyvesant Town resident Jeff Slate said that he was enthusiastically voting for Clinton, and had voted for her in the primaries as well.
“There’s no comparison,” he said. “She’s exactly what I want in a president.”
Stuyvesant Town resident Estrella van Hoek said that she was especially supportive of Clinton because of her time as a senator in New York and her work with Charles Schumer in keeping the VA Hospital on East 23rd Street open.
“My husband was in Vietnam and he was ashamed when he came back because returning soldiers were treated like criminals because people disagreed with the war,” she said. “Veterans fought for this country and the VA would have closed, but (Clinton and Schumer) were instrumental in keeping it open.”
Given the high number of Clinton voters in the area, many residents were disappointed with the outcome of the election, which was called for Donald Trump in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Peter Cooper Village resident Hannah Epstein, who voted for Clinton, said that she was disappointed.
“I’m just really uncertain about what will happen with the country’s future,” Epstein said the day after the election. “I don’t know if I can put all my feelings into words right now.”
Another Clinton voter, East Midtown Plaza resident Carol Kulman, said she had a more visceral reaction.
“I almost threw up, to be honest,” she said. “I couldn’t stay up last night and when I woke up this morning, I almost fainted. I couldn’t believe it. I have my fingers crossed because I don’t trust this man.”
Concerning the high turnout in the neighborhood, voters at 360 First Avenue in Peter Cooper Village braved a line that at certain points wound outside the basement and around the corner of East 20th Street past Petite Abeille until at least 8 a.m. Wagner said she dropped by around 8 and decided to try her luck a little later, so she came back at 10 a.m. and said it took her about half an hour to cast her vote, including the time it took to fill out her ballot.
Poll workers from the Board of Elections tried to facilitate the process by helping voters find their district while they were waiting on line. Peter Cooper Village resident Mike Dezube said that this did speed things up because one cause for delays inside the site at 360 First Avenue was having to wait on line to find out district information in addition to standing on line to fill out a ballot.
Site coordinators at polling places in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper reported that there were lines outside the sites when they first opened at 6 a.m. and Mary Gallagher, a coordinator at 525 East 14th Street said that some residents started lining up outside the site before poll workers even arrived at 5 a.m. Denise Giaciuto, the site coordinator for the polling place next to the community center, said that things were a little chaotic when they first opened but they hadn’t run into any technical difficulties and by mid-morning, the site was running efficiently.
While campaigning outside Stuyvesant Town on First Avenue and East 16th Street, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was hopeful earlier in the day for a Clinton win and said that she had never seen lines this long on Election Day, even compared to 2008.
“A lot of people are very moved to vote for major change in this country,” she said. “I’ve seen people crying and have been getting chills. This is a transformative change for our society.”
Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman were out campaigning with Maloney and both were pushing their voter reforms that would bring early voting and pre-registration for teens to New York, among other changes they say will make it easier for voters to do their civic duty.
“Long lines are a form of voter disenfranchisement,” Hoylman said. “Who has time to see if the line is moving or not? Voters in New York should be able to do what 30 million other voters in the country did: vote early.”
Kavanagh, Hoylman and Maloney all were reelected with wide margins.
Kavanagh won with 74.16 percent, while his opponent Republican Frank Scala received 13.65 percent and Green Party candidate Scott Hutchins received 2.98 percent. Hoylman won reelection with 82.79 percent of the vote compared to Independent candidate Stephen Roberts, who received 3.77 percent. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney won her race against Republican Robert Ardini with 78.34 percent of the vote, while her opponent received 16.08 percent.