By Jessica Easthope
Voters steadily streamed into the Brooklyn Museum in Park Slope, Tuesday, June 22, citing healthcare, COVID recovery and jobs as the top concerns that brought them to the polls for the primary election. But it was one single issue people agreed the city’s next leader needs to tackle: housing.
“Personally, for me it’s housing,” one voter said.
“Affordable housing is probably the most important issue,” said another.
They call New York City home – so voters want someone who will help them stay.
“You see a lot of them hanging out on the street in front of the buildings where they used to live,” said Nirva Decopain.
Tuesday was the first brush with ranked-choice voting. People were asked to list their five favorite candidates but could opt out and still only choose one. Some voters were taken by surprise.
“I’m a little bit intimidated by ranked choice,” Roshelle Sumner said. “I’ve never really dealt with anything like that before.”
But others came prepared and called the strategy a political game-changer.
“I actually found it to be a pretty easy process and I was happy we had a couple of choices,” said Pat Stortz.
With no presidential race or congressional seats up for grabs, turnout in this primary, to decide who would continue in the races for comptroller, public advocate and mayor, was expected to stay low. In the 2017 mayoral race, only Democrats voted in the primary and just 15 percent of them cast ballots.
But now with heavy-hitting issues like crime, economic recovery and social justice reform facing New York City, voters said they needed their voices heard.
Paul Basista said what he wants out of this election.
“Less crime, better education, more social justice,” Paul said.
And despite Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leading the polls, voters said he wasn’t necessarily their frontrunner.
“I ranked Maya Wiley first,” said Dan Casey.
“I think Maya has a grasp on it,” Sylvia Dela Pena said.
“As far as criminal justice policy, I voted for Maya Wiley,” said Antoine Morris.
“Maya Wiley has a good idea,” Paul said. “Take some money and put it toward mental health because a lot crime has been done by homeless people who are not well.”
“I’ve always been impressed with Maya Wiley because of her legal position within the de Blasio administration, it’s helpful to have someone who understands from the inside out what needs to change,” said Pat.
Voters can cast their ballots Tuesday until 9 p.m.