I write to urge my fellow Guyanese New Yorkers to vote today which is Primary Election Day in New York City and across most of America, to choose a Democratic candidate for November’s general elections. All seats are up for grabs in NYC – Mayor, Public Advocate, City Comptroller, Boro President, City Council, judgeships, etc.
Polls open at 6am and close at 8pm. Only party members can vote in this election to select a candidate for each position.
All eyes are on the mayoral race with several candidates seeking the nomination for the Democrats because the next mayor is going to be a Democrat with the city being run by Republicans for the last 20 years. Bill De Blasio, an Italian, is ahead in the polls followed by an African American Bill Thompson with the Irish Council Speaker Christine Quinn in third place trailed by Jewish American Anthony Weiner and Chinese John Liu, who is well liked by Guyanese and other Caribbean Americans. Weiner had led the race for a month before slipping. Quinn had also led for several months before finding herself in third place. In order to win the Democratic nomination, a candidate must garner at least 40% of the vote. Opinion polls put De Blasio at around 45% with Thompson at 22% and Quinn at 18%. If no candidate gets 40%, there is a run-off between the top two contenders on September 24. It is conceivable there will be a run-off between De Blasio and Quinn.
In an important race in the greater Richmond Hill area where there is a large presence of Guyanese Americans, there is a stiff contest between two Jamaican Americans for the City Council District 28 seat and two other candidates. The seat has been held by Ruben Wills for the last three years with fellow Jamaican Hettie Powell putting up a strong challenge. Guyanese are divided between the two. Powell has been wooing Guyanese, holding a dinner last Wednesday at the Nest restaurant in the heart of Richmond Hill. Turnout is expected to be very low with some 4,000 votes leading to victory in a district of 125,000 voters. There are some 50,000 Guyanese in the district but they have shown little interest in political affairs and no Guyanese is seeking office.
Everyone is urged to come out and vote – to be part of the democratic process to choose who will be their party’s standard bearer or representative. Guyanese and other Caribbean people cannot afford to be left out of the election voting in the NY metro area. Caribbean people constitute an important chunk of voters. They make up a small percentage of the electorate but they are enough to tip the balance in a close race if they come out to vote, especially in the greater Richmond Hill area. They must vote and make a wise choice on the candidate best positioned to further their interests and volunteer for favoured candidates as I am doing.