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In Democratic primary, local voters want to see more political engagement

A heated political landscape may lead to a higher voter turnout overall, but it hasn’t in some areas of Buffalo this afternoon.New York’s primary election is underway and there are some major races to follow in the Democratic Party. Governor Andrew Cuomo is being challenged by activist and former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is facing off against New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, and several candidates are vying for attorney general—all of whom say they plan to fight President Trump on several legal issues.

Bob Lanz has been an election inspector for about 20 years and today is working at a polling location near Buffalo State College. He says this election turnout has been like any other year for the most part.

“You don’t have a big turnout. There’s usually more kids from the school that turnout, but there’s not that many this time,” said Lanz.

Juliette Graves sat outside a polling location all day handing out cards that show people how to properly fill out their ballot. She too would like to see more youth making their voices heard.

“There needs to be a lot of education through the public schools about civic work,” said Graves. “What’s voting mean and why is it important? You don’t get that much in the public schools.”

Corey Samaroo is currently enrolled at Buffalo State College and said he has been working hard to get his peers vote.

“I definitively have asked some of my friends to come out with me to the primary today. Some of them said no. Some of them said they were going to be asleep. I just think it’s a little ridiculous because this is something that is going to affect us for literally years unless you move,” he said.

Other voters in the area like Gregory Johnson said Election Day landing on a Thursday threw him off a little bit.

“I ended up having a conversation with a friend of mine this morning that reminded me,” said Johnson. “Not that I haven’t gotten mailings and so on to my house. I decided to get out here before I get on with other things and have a chance to forget.”

As a long-time employee of Tops, Johnson wants to see more politicians support labor unions and workers benefits.

“I would like to see workers rewarded for their work,” said Johnson. “I see the gap between workers and CEO’s and high-top official… just continue to widen. If you read the reports, our spending ability hasn’t really gone up a whole lot since the early 80’s as just regular people working.”

Nijae Davis casted her vote earlier on Buffalo’s East Side. She said she likes what Cuomo and Hochul have been able to accomplish the past four years.

“I see them out in the community really doing something and passing legislation. I like how everybody works together in Albany,” said Davis. “That’s always a really good thing. When you see everybody being unified, working together and getting the job done.”

Samaroo, originally from Brooklyn, has a different perspective on what Cuomo has done over the past four years.

“A big issue with transportation and the MTA subway system, that’s been an issue—even though it’s been ongoing for years now—it’s even worse than it was before. I feel like there’s been no strides to alleviate the situation,” said Samaroo.

Polling locations are open until 9 PM.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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