Inside it was hard to tell that a primary election was taking place at P.S. 163, where candidate Yudelka Tapia, cast her vote at around 11 a.m. this morning. Bored-looking poll workers outnumbered voters. Outside was a different story. All three District 14 candidates' brochures and fliers littered the streets and posters covered telephone polls. Tapia even had a convertible driving up and down the Concourse adorned with her campaign material.
However, very few people felt that the community in District 14 was even aware that voting was taking place. The Poll Coordinator at P.S. 163, Steven Caughman, blames the candidates, "I don't think they have been campaigning the way they should have." He continued, "You ask somebody who so and so is and they say, 'who?'"
Sallie Smith, a registered voter in District 15, echoed Caughman's sentiment. "They can pass out all they want to on the day of (the primary), but it is brainwashing. They ought to have seen them before," she said.
Tapia had a more optimistic outlook as she cast her vote saying that people were coming out for change. "I feel good. I'm winning tonight. Today after 9 p.m. is another era," she said.
Despite her confidence in winning the primary, Tapia claimed that there had been a number of issues already today, alleging that Maria Baez had gone with police at PS 33 and PS 70 to break down her campaign stands. The Baez campaign could not be reached for comment and the 44th Police Precinct could not immediately confirm the accusation.
Tapia also contended that the lever for her name was broken at PS 64. However, Mona Turner, the Poll Coordinator at the site, refuted the claim stating that the entire machine was broken from the "time they checked it with the first voter." The site had to use emergency ballots until just before noon when the machine was fixed. Turner reassured voters, "No votes were missing and everyone got to vote."
Outside the school, both Baez and Cabrera had campaigners on the street corner wearing support T-shirts and shouting rally cries at each other.
Voters were a mixed bag. Although many felt the most important issues to them were neighborhood safety and job creation, their candidate selections varied.
Vioneiry Dominguez cast her ballot for Cabrera, because "He (Cabrera) will make a change for the youth. He has made more contact with young people than the other candidates."
A Baez supporter who wished to remain anonymous, defended the candidates City Council attendance record, "People say she didn't attend the meetings, but she has attended to the community and has the most experience."
The majority of Tapia's support was at P.S. 163 where one voter praised her as a "strong woman."
Note: The reporting for this post was done by Katie Riordan and Molly Ryan.