Tag Archive: voters

Nov 06 2013

Turnout Hits Historic Low Proportion


Calling all voters.

As if the notoriety candidates brought to all New Yorkers through the press, social media, and old-fashioned campaign mail wasn’t enough to raise awareness this season, voter turnout still came back less than what was hoped for.

Reaching a meager 24 percent, turnout was the lowest in more than fifty years, according to the NYPOST.

While paper ballots have yet to be counted, the Board of Elections reported 1,026,169 ballots cast with over 4.3 million registered voters in NYC.

“That compares with a turnout of 93 percent in 1953. Before Tuesday, the lowest turnout since 1950 had been in 2009, when 1.137 million ballots were cast in Mayor Bloomberg’s widely expected victory over Bill Thompson,” according to the Post article.


Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2013/11/low-turnout-historic-proportions/

Sep 06 2013

Final Thoughts: GOTV Weekend Edition

Once more unto the breach, dear friends… -Henry V


Me and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

It’s certainly been an adventure so far in this electoral season to say the least. As the candidates gear up for one last push to consolidate their voting blocs, Queens-Politics continues to ponder the possibilities that Tuesday’s Primary results will present us with.

So without further adieu, here are my suggestions to help guide you through this process. 

Hailing from North Queens, I’ve kept a watchful eye on the developments in Council District 19 because it’s important to me, it’s home. The real race comes down between two candidates: community activist Paul Vallone, whom I fully support, and a trained operative and spin doctor named Austin Shafran. This weekend, Shafran will be making his final push to concentrate the Jewish voting bloc by emphasizing his Jewish heritage – sort of ironic for a man who graduated St. Francis Prep and was married in a Catholic church, but I digress. Did I mention Shafran received money from special interests yet held a press conference to denounce such contributions and outside spending?

He’s really worried Vallone is going to win this thing, and I can’t blame him. Despite the misleading blog headlines, Vallone ran a completely positive campaign. Sure, this statement will certainly raise eyebrows on the blogs (which have apparently aligned themselves against Vallone and for lobbyist Paul Graziano) but the whole Jobs For NY issue was NOT connected to his campaign, after all that’s illegal. The powers that be behind the real estate backed PAC independently sent mailers which offended the delicate sensibilities of candidates who obviously could not handle the heat in the kitchen to face the truth about themselves: you can’t have a seedy past and expect to come up smelling like roses. Ignoring these issues is a disservice to the electorate. In politics your record will be challenged and sometimes it’s just not pretty. I believe it’s all part of the vetting process and definitely not for the feint of heart. I’ve faced it myself despite not running for public office and I took it all in stride. If I can do it, so can they. But never in my life have I witnessed such two-faced bigotry from questionable candidates who have fallen to the wayside and become desperate for a headline.  And it got even worse on TV. On the NY1 debate, to which everyone of Vallone’s opponents united against him in attack mode, all I saw was a bunch of insecure politicians that ganged up on the frontrunner and showed the public one thing: Paul Vallone will be the very best candidate for the 19th City Council district. 

As for Queens Borough President, it’s well known that I’m supporting Peter Vallone Jr. and as of now – despite not having the County’s endorsement – it looks like he could win, that is, if enough votes are pulled out. Name recognition credit goes to Vallone, as well as his unwavering support of public safety issues. Queens will be a safer place with Peter Vallone as Borough President. Did we mention the NY POST just endorsed him as well as the PBA?

Comptroller? I’m going to go with Eliot Spitzer, and I’ll even go as far as to say he will win Queens just based on name recognition. After all, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has never come around to these parts. No one here has ever heard of him and that’s got to mean something.

Public Advocate? We’ve endorsed Cathy Guerriero. Cathy has also been endorsed by practically every law enforcement union in the city, and for good reason. The office of Public Advocate is not meant to be held by a career politician. The Public Advocate is the city’s chief ombudsman – and we need someone in there who’s outside the scope of politics and unafraid to call people out, cut the red tape and do the job well. Hailing from the outer boroughs, Cathy knows the issues important to Queens. That’s why I chose Cathy and I hope you do too.


Borough President candidate Peter Vallone Jr. and Bill Thompson.

Now I’ve helped out on elections across NYC and I’ve become quite familiar with poll site politics. Poll workers are political hires. They have allegiance to their District Leaders, whom in turn have their allegiance to the County organization (not all but most). In recent elections, there were instances when newly registered voters were told by poll workers they “accidentally” showed up at the wrong poll site and were redirected (sometimes across town). Upon arriving at the new site, they were told yet again they’re in the wrong place and they simply gave up at that point. And who could blame them? Some of these voters were even mailed the wrong poll site location from the BOE. It certainly has the makings of a conspiracy theory.

In NY politics, voters are easily disenfranchised especially if your recognized as supporting another candidate running against a County candidate at the polls; they just don’t want your vote to count and it’s hard to prove. As voters, our only defense is to be armed with knowledge and insist on an Affidavit ballot to protect our vote and mitigate any political factors that may have come into play at the polling site.


Me and Comptroller John Liu.

I can’t honestly go on and accurately predict results because this season there’s too many factors and variables to take into consideration which change minute to minute. My only hope is that people like you will take my suggestions on candidates who have proven themselves to be strong advocates for Queens and cast your ballots accordingly. Now, it may be unscientific, but it’s what’s best for our borough (and yet still more scientific than some of the polls I’ve read), which is my guiding philosophy. Ultimately, neither official polls nor unofficial ones can truly say what will happen with certainty this year. However, the unpredictable nature of this primary election has not stopped a seemingly endless array of pundits, wonks, and psychics from bombarding the airwaves with their half-witted predictions. So who will be the predictive champion? Time will tell.

Yes, our posting schedule is quite random but Queens-Politics is here to stay. So check back often for the unfiltered commentary and if you have a tip email info@queens-politics.com. Again, no matter whom you choose, it’s time to get out the vote.

Polls are open from 6 AM – 9 PM.

To find your poll site click here: http://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/Search.aspx



Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2013/09/final-thoughts-primary-election-edition/

Jun 13 2013

Shafran Insults Local Leader, Shows Ignorance Of Critical District Issues


Ali Fadil discusses Austin Shafran’s sham candidacy for district 19.

We’ve been posting for quite some time about the sham candidacy of Austin Shafran, a candidate who has never been seen or heard from in District 19. For those of you who took it all with a grain of salt, things are finally getting real. We knew it was only a matter of time before community leaders like Ali Fadil would come forward. In his letter Fadil discusses an encounter with Austin Shafran regarding a critical district issue. Fadil was astonished with the lack of knowledge and dismissive attitude showed by the candidate, which is not surprising given his pedigree of tweeder jobs and absenteeism from community life.

Meanwhile, the New York Post exposed Shafran’s philandering, Queens-Politics highlighted his past as chief excuse maker for corrupt politicians and a dysfunctional government, and now the cat is out of the bag. These points are not really disputed by anyone in the district. Read his letter below:

Dear Editor,


I am Ali Fadil, a community organizer based in Northeast Queens and I am writing this letter to put my two cents in on how I feel about the Democratic primary race in the 19th council district, a Northeast Queens based district.

Austin Shafran is a candidate who I think feels that because of his connections; he can talk down to our community and not have to care about our community. I have experienced this from Shafran first hand when I approached him to discuss issues that face our express bus riders and made him aware of the various problems that we have with our express bus routes. The response that I received from Shafran was that transit priorities in the district should be focused on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) because LIRR stations have parking lots where people can park their cars; not considering that parking can be difficult at the LIRR stations in the district that have parking lots available such as Bayside or Broadway and there are other LIRR stations such as Auburndale that do not have parking available. This is not considering the fact that the LIRR only goes to Penn Station and does not offer free transfers to buses and Subways once in Manhattan and one has to pay for parking at some of the LIRR stations in our area in addition to an LIRR ticket. Express buses have the benefit of offering more direct service to areas in Manhattan and Queens when compared to the LIRR and are also cheaper and offer transfers to the Subway, and local and express buses. Residents of neighborhoods in the 19th council district such as College Point want direct express bus service. When I tried to explain to him that his stance towards transit in the district is not necessarily the best one for this district, Shafran immediately excused himself from the conversation that I was having with him. This shows how Shafran is out of touch with the residents of the 19th council district as he is unable to relate to the needs of this district. Other civic leaders have also stated that he is someone who also has not been seen in the community until his candidacy and as a member of the Jefferson Democratic Club in Northeast Queens, I have not seen him attend meetings until his candidacy for the 19th council district. 

manes shafran

What’s the connection?

Other candidates such as Paul Vallone have been very supportive to the needs of our community and our express bus riders. One of the issues with our express bus service that I have championed in the district is to get a Lower Manhattan express bus from Bayside, Whitestone, and North Flushing and Vallone has supported me on that issue from the very beginning and is very receptive to the needs of the community and the needs of this district’s express bus riders and unlike Shafran does not seem to be someone who would shaft his constituents as I have had his support on that issue before he declared his run for the City Council as a civic leader. Overall, I think that Vallone would be the best person to win the Democratic primary for the 19th council district because unlike candidates such as Shafran who feels that it is unnecessary to care about the community, Vallone is a civic leader who is in touch with our community and the needs of the community and would do his best to support the needs of our community and I feel that the Democratic Organization of Queens County made the right choice to endorse Vallone instead of Shafran (who was rumored to get County’s endorsement) for the 19th city council district Democratic Primary.

Ali Fadil,


Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2013/06/austin-shafran-insults-local-leader-shows-ignorance-of-critical-district-issues/

Feb 28 2013

Is Avella Playing Power Broker in Northeast Queens?


He answers to me now.

Rumor has it Tony Avella propped up a lobbyist for the City Council primary to divide the voting blocs in district 19.

Paul Graziano, who works at an architectural firm in New Jersey as an urban planner (and also worked for Avella) could be part of a massive scheme of voter manipulation with Tony Avella at the helm.

Was Graziano influenced by Avella to run? It’s the million dollar question. The relationship is there and is very concerning.

Questions arise like did Tony Avella hand out proclamation in return for bankrolling his campaign as Graziano did time and time again? Is it favor for a favor? Are the voters going to buy into this power play? After all, seems like Graziano often rewards his former boss in campaign donations for such recognition.

Graziano is an activist, a good activist at that, and we don’t want to see him promoted beyond his level of ability. But to see him being used as a pawn in Avella’s devious political manipulation of the electoral system speaks volumes about his character.

It’s not rocket science folks.


Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2013/02/senator-avella-devious-political-maneuver/

Sep 21 2012

De Blasio responds to low voter turnout

Help is on the way as Public Advocate Bill De Blasio implements a plan to raise awareness, keep people informed and on guard to ensure our ballots count for the upcoming Presidential election.

The poll sites changed and then the BOE sent erroneous notifications. Meanwhile voters were disenfranchised in a variety of different ways. Turnout has reached record lows and more often than not small groups of voters continue to reelect incumbents that depend on low turnout. It’s surely a recipe for disaster.

The Public Advocate In collaboration with ANIMALNy.com has a comprehensive plan to empower voters. Expect to see the following Voter’s Bill of Rights posters appear in a neighborhood near you. You should memorize them.

The 10 rights are:


  1. You are entitled to up to two paid hours off of work to vote if polls are not open for four consecutive hours before or after your work day, provided you notify employers.
  2. You should receive a mailed reminder informing you when and where to vote.
  3. You have until October 12 to register to vote in this year’s general election. 
  4. If you have recently moved within NYC, you can vote at your new poll site with an Affidavit Ballot, even if you have not updated your registration.
  5. If your name is misspelled on the voter rolls or you recently changed your name, you are still allowed to vote using the standard ballot and machine.
  6. If your name is not on the voter rolls, you can still vote using an Affidavit Ballot.
  7. Only some first-time voters are required to present I.D. at poll sites if they didn’t submit the needed information when they registered.
  8. You can request an absentee ballot be mailed to you if you are unable to vote in person.
  9. Voters with disabilities are entitled to assistance from poll site staff, as are non-English speakers.
  10. You cannot be prevented from voting if you accidentally wear campaign paraphernalia at a polling site, but you should remove or cover it as instructed by poll workers.

Read about the new partnership below:

Received via email: Not many people know that New York City has one of the worst voter participation rates in the nation – especially among young voters:

In the 2009 Mayoral election, fewer than 4 percent of eligible 18-29 year old voters cast ballots.  Even in the 2008 Presidential Election – a high point for youth turnout – fewer than 17 percent of the same age group voted in NYC.

A huge impediment to voting in NYC is the widespread confusion many New Yorkers have about poll locations and voting procedures. Our joint effort with ANIMALNewYork.com seeks to rectify this problem.  We will distribute thousands of posters across the city clarifying exactly how to register, how to locate your polling station, and how to ensure your ballot is properly cast at the polls.

We encourage you to tell your readers about our informational poster and online voting guide at http://nycvoting.com. By spreading the word you’ll be empowering New Yorkers to get out there and perform their democratic rights.

You can find a copy of our poster and additional voting resources at our online hub http://nycvoting.com. The poster will be distributed in the upcoming weeks in partnership with a series of civic organizations and elected officials.


Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2012/09/de-blasio-responds-low-voter-turnout/

Aug 12 2012

Yen Chou to Ethel Chen: You Owe This Community An Apology!

Not in my neighborhood

Standing up for voters by calling out shameful politics.

Yen Chou, a candidate for Assembly District 40, held a press conference with community leaders to demand an apology from Assembly Candidate Ethel Chen who filed a lawsuit that Chou claims was tantamount to an act of ‘voter suppression and harassment’.

“I think it is shameful that any candidate would stoop this low to separate our community,” said Chou in a press release. “We need to move forward and work to unify our community toward the best we can be and not be an instrument of segregation .”

Were these voters unfairly targeted by the Chen campaign?

Chou’s claims were backed up by community Leader Chaudhry Anwar, “I cannot understand why I was approached by an Ethel Chen staffer asking me did I collect the signature of two Korean community members. I Feel that the question was insulting because my wife is Korean,” adding, “This is not the way anyone should approach our community.”

More on this to follow.




Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2012/08/yen-chou-to-ethel-chen-you-owe-this-community-an-apology/

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