June 26, 2012 at 4:40 PM
By Sarah Ramirez
Van Cortlandt Village voters have slowly been filing into their polling centers as today marks the primary date for the newly-formed 13th Congressional District, which also includes the northwest Bronx neighborhoods of Norwood, Bedford Park, Fordham, Kingsbridge and University Heights.
Even though polls have been open since 7 a.m., volunteers for State Senator Adriano Espaillat’s congressional campaign are out on the streets, handing out campaign literature and encouraging pedestrians to head to the polls.
“They’re all good candidates,” said Jorge Gautreau, a volunteer for Espaillat handing out fliers on the corner of Hillman Avenue and Van Cortlandt Park South. ”But Rangel’s people have given up around here. The other guys don’t even know the Bronx exists,” he added, implying other candidates have been concentrating their efforts on northern Manhattan, which makes up the majority of the 13th Congressional district. (The Bronx makes up about a quarter of the district’s residents and is home to about 20 percent of its registered voters.)
As of noon today, 123 ballots had been cast at the Vladeck Hall polling center. So far, the turnout is lower than that of the 2010 primary, with volunteers citing the unusually early June primary date and the Board of Elections’ failure to send out mailings informing voters about the primary election.
For many of those who have voted, the process seems to be going smoothly.
“The machine is pretty fast. It’s an improvement to the old ballot system,” said Jose Rosa, a Lehman College student who voted at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center. Rosa, who believes voting is his “civic duty,” said he cast his ballot in support of incumbent Charlie Rangel.
“People complain about who’s in charge, and it’s up to me to have my voice heard,” said voter Victoria Alfasso. “Voting is one of the ways I can do something. [The voting process] is all really easy.”