12 SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Moving in the right direction
For once, we feel better about
democracy in Queens.
The Sept. 13 primary election
had a much higher turnout than most
people anticipated. September primaries
are never well attended – the 2014
primary drew just 9 percent of registered
Queens Democrats — largely
due to the timing. It falls at the end of
summer, at the start of the school year
and — in this year’s case — amidst the
Jewish high holy days.
However, more than 180,000 registered
Queens Democrats cast their ballots
in this year’s September statewide
primary, choosing their gubernatorial,
lieutenant governor and attorney general
candidates. That number was just 23
percent of the eligible Democratic voters,
but nonetheless a vast improvement.
All things being equal, this was a
successful outcome for Queens, and
not just for one particular party. It was
a success in spite of the continuous impediments
New York voters face every
election — including poor scheduling,
no early voting, diffi culties in obtaining
absentee ballots and the occasional,
inexplicable voter roll purge.
The boost in voter turnout signals a
renewed interest among the electorate
in government, and who represents
them. That’s civic engagement as it
should be. Everyone, regardless of
party, should be paying more attention
to what their government does, and
use their vote as their voice to support
it or implement change.
Certainly, those voices were exercised
in droves by voters in two
Queens state Senate districts who
punished state Senators Jose Peralta
and Tony Avella for their previous
association with the Independent
Democratic Conference (IDC) — a
group of breakaway Democrats who
worked with Senate Republicans.
Peralta and Avella were ousted
by two candidates — Jessica Ramos
and John Liu, respectively — who
campaigned as “real Democrats” supporting
a progressive agenda while
staying true to the party. Despite the
incumbents’ accomplishments and an
IDC reunion with traditional Democrats,
the voters sent a message that
they won’t tolerate a split of the caucus
for political purposes.
Of course, the primaries only decided
the candidates who will be on the
ballot in the Nov. 6 general election.
We hope that the turnout for that will
be even higher, but only you can make
A newspaper doesn’t vote. Your next
door neighbor can’t vote for you. You
can’t rely upon everyone else in your
neighborhood to make the choice for
you. You have to do it yourself.
So stay engaged. Read your local
newspapers. Learn about the candidates
and the issues in this coming election.
And, for God’s sake, make sure
you’re registered to vote on Nov. 6 —
and make the time that day to do it. Our
democracy depends on you!
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