Sun Rises. People Vote.

By Abigail Morris

Who’s out on the streets at 6am in Morningside Heights? The dedicated jogger, a crew of garbagemen and the early bird voters in the state primary elections.

Polling station PS 165 on West 109th Street

Irene Pavitt, 71, is the first person to cast her vote this morning because “it’s less crowded and I’m sure to do it even if things alter the day.”

35-year-old Rebecca Fondren agreed, “I go to the gym and to work and I don’t like long queues.”

While the majority of legislative seats are held by longstanding incumbents with no challengers, Morningside Heights residents can vote today in two contested races: the Democratic primaries  for Assembly District 69 and Senate District 31.

For residents like lawyer Brett Clements, 32, voting early is a habit, “When I was growing up my parents always voted before they took me to school.”

At 6:30am, the sun is rising and more voters start trickling in. Many with full time jobs feel that if they don’t vote now, they won’t be able to vote at all.  “I wanted to do it before I go to work,” said attorney Mark Lehrman, 54, “so if I get held up, I don’t risk missing the opportunity to vote.”

Policy Analyst, David Saltonstall, 56, echoed this. “I think my day’s only going to get busier.”

By 7am there’s a steady stream of residents. Most are heading off to work, but Prudence Brown, 68, a consultant in urban poverty, is carrying a suitcase because she’s heading off to Milwaukee. She was joined by Paul Stetzer, 71, a retired teacher who might not have come so early. “She woke me up,” he explained.


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