Election Heated In Flushing, Cold In Chinatown And Brooklyn
From World Journal
September 11, 2002
Voting rates in Chinatown and Brooklyn for the primary elections
on September 10 were low, while competition escalated in Flushing.
Although there were enough interpreters and the voting machines
ran smoothly, some of the biggest polling places in Chinatown received
less than 200 votes. Many Chinese voters lost enthusiasm for the
election when they saw unfamiliar names on the ballots.
Many workers at polling centers said the voting rate was much lower
than before. One of the biggest, formerly located at Yung Wing Elementary
School but now relocated to Confucius Plaza Building, received only
170 votes an hour before closing. For the majority of the day, one
could only see workers wandering around instead of voters. A similar
outcome also occurred at Sun Yat-sen Middle School, another popular
The day was also uneventful for some of the most heavily Chinese-populated
areas in Brooklyn, as the major candidates for both the Democratic
and Republican Parties were running unopposed. However, in the Independence
Party primary election for the State Senate in District 22 in Flushing,
Queens, competition was fierce as Republican Martin Golden takes
on Democrat Vincent Gentile, who is nominated by the Independence
Party. Many Chinese volunteers mobilized to support Golden, who
has a close relationship with the Chinese community.
Led by community leaders Paul Lee, Lan Pei-wen and Eng Shih-ying,
the Chinese volunteers from Goldens camp went out to lobby
support from voters in Chinese in early morning. However, many first-time
voters did not know that Goldens name is not on the ballot
since he is a challenger and that they have to add his name to the
ballot. It did not help when many workers at polling sites were
not familiar with the procedure. Many voters had to be accompanied
by Chinese-speaking volunteers to the ballot booth when they cast
The Board of Elections listed many newly-registered Chinese Independence
Party members as Conservative Party members, so paper ballots were
used to clear the confusion. This added more difficulties to the
Golden expressed gratitude to his Chinese supporters and said he
was moved by the efforts of his Chinese volunteers. He vowed to
provide more service to the Chinese community.
Meanwhile, two major Chinese candidates were running for the Democratic
Party nomination in the State Assembly race. Their volunteers had
an early start in the hopes of a last-minute push to win the primary,
adding some excitement to the elections.
Barry Grodenchik, backed by the Queens County Democratic Party,
stood side by side with former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman
and City Councilman John Liu to greet voters near a polling place
near Kissena Senior Center. He complained about the relocation of
many polling centers this year, saying that candidates might lose
votes because voters are having trouble finding the sites.
Jimmy Meng, a strong candidate in the race, sent out volunteers
near polling centers to distribute flyers reminding people to vote.
He also provided car service to the polling centers for senior citizens
who have trouble traveling and do not speak English. Reservations
were required in advance.
According to regulations by the Board of Elections, candidates
cannot place any campaign material too close to polling sites. All
campaign activities are also limited to the outskirts of the areas
of polling sites.
Among the four candidates for the Democratic primary for the State
Assembly in District 22, John Albert has the lowest campaign budget.
Albert was rarely seen in campaign activities, contrasting the much
more elaborate campaigns by other candidates staged outside the
major polling places.
Translated From Chinese By Larry Tung
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