Sandy won’t dampen voters heading to polls

As the city Board of Elections scrambles to set up polling places – including emergency ones after Hurricane Sandy, thousands of Bronxites will head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 6 to elect their local leaders and U.S. president.

And with registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans in the borough, some races have already been pre-determined thanks to September primaries.

Overshadowing all contests is the race for the White House, with incumbent President Barack Obama being challenged by moderate-conservative Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachussetts.

Here in the Bronx, the major race to be decided is the special election in the 12th Council District covering Wakefield, Williamsburg, Baychester, Eastchester, Edenwald and Co-op City. The seat opened after the recent federal bribery conviction of now ex-Councilman Larry Seabrook.

The frontrunner is Andy King, a Baychester resident and union rep who has the backing of the Bronx Democratic organization.

Also on the ballot are Neville Mitchell, Pamela Johnson, Joseph Nwachukwu, Cheryl Simmons-Oliver and Garth Marchant. The race for the 80th Assembly District in Morris Park, Pelham Parkway and Allerton is seen as 99.9% a given for Democratic primary winner Mark Gjonaj, a first for the Albanian-born Morris Park realtor. Gjonaj outspent longtime incumbent Naomi Rivera, who was also caught up in scandal involving multiple investigations into putting boyfriends into taxpayer funded jobs.

Democratic assembly candidate Luis Sepulveda is also expected to walk into the job in the newly designated 87th A.D. covering Parkchester, Castle Hill, Van Nest and West Farms.

In Mott Haven’s 84th Assembly District, the Sept. 13 Democratic primary between incumbent Carmen Arroyo and Maximino Rivera resulted in Rivera taking the Board of Elections to court over allegations of fraud by winner Arroyo.

J.C. Polanco, the Republican commissioner to the board of elections, and its former president, said the board was checking established polling sites to make sure they had power, and scouring the borough and city for alternate site that might need tents and generators.

Despite the hurricane and its devastation, Polanco predicted the turnout in the Bronx and rest of the city will be as large, “if not larger,” than the 2008 vote that saw a turnout of 2.6 million that elected Barack Obama president.

For voting information, go to or call 866-VOTE-NYC (866-868-3692)

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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