By Jorge Fuentelsaz
New York, Nov 2 (EFE).- New Yorkers headed to the polls on Tuesday to select a new mayor on a calm election day with virtually no election hype or lines at the precincts. It seemed a foregone conclusion that the vote would go for Democrat Eric Adams.
The frontrunner got up early and voted at 7:30 am at a precinct in the Bedford neighborhood of Brooklyn, having been president of that borough since 2014.
An African-American ex-cop, Adams came to the precinct with a picture of his mother, Dorothy Adams, who died last March in the middle of the election campaign and whose image her son has used on several occasions to highlight his poor background and to denounce the historic injustices committed by city authorities against lower-class communities.
Saying that he was doing “all this” for everyday New Yorkers, Adams added that he had only three words to say to the media before insisting that he already considers himself to have won the election: “I am you.”
Nobody doubts that he will emerge victorious in the balloting against Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels urban defense patrols in the 1970s and who has garnered little support in a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic.
Sliwa went to his local precinct in Manhattan with one of his cats in his lap and his arm in a sling after last weekend he was hit by a taxi, and he asked his fellow New Yorkers to vote for him to, among other things, lift the ban the city has imposed on officials who have not gotten vaccinated against Covid-19, one of his election promises, as well as promising to stop wearing his iconic red beret.
The approximately 400,000 New York City officials are obligated to get vaccinated if they want to keep their jobs and salaries, a measure that Adams supports.
Henry David Thoreau Elementary School, in the Astoria neighborhood in Queens, is the only precinct in the area where campaign posters have been placed along the sidewalk and are hanging from the fence surrounding the school.
Vanessa Steinmetz just got done voting for Adams when she spoke with EFE, confessing that she would have preferred another candidate from the Democratic Party but wearing on her lapel a sticker saying “I voted.”
“He’s the Democrat, and I’m a Democrat,” she said, adding that Adams wasn’t her first choice in the primaries but she thinks that he will be able to do a lot to help, especially in terms of the city’s relations with the police, referring to ongoing tensions in the Big Apple between city officials and law enforcement over the recent petitions that police departments be overhauled and abandon their more violent and/or abusive practices.
But Steinmetz also said she thinks that one of the priorities that the new mayor must deal with will be the transformation to a more sustainable economy.
Another of the few people who was willing to reveal for whom he had voted was Raul Suarez, a Puerto Rican who did not hide his rejection of Sliwa, saying that he doesn’t know much about politics.
The precincts will close at 9 pm on Tuesday and the first results will become known before midnight, if all goes according to plan, although it will take officials some time to count all the mail-in ballots.
Besides choosing a new mayor, New Yorkers are also selecting all the City Council members, as well as other public offices like the presidents of four of the city’s five boroughs, several prosecutors and the city’s ombudsman.