Government / Politics

Presidential election results stun Hunts Point voters

Nick Augustine

A sign offering directions to voting booths at IS 74 for voters on Nov. 8.

After voting overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, the South Bronx watches in disbelief as Trump wins

The nation was shocked on Wednesday as election results came in, showing that the country’s next president will be Donald J. Trump. While this news may have been welcomed in the middle of the country, in New York City, and especially the South Bronx, the election did not go as many had hoped.

“I started to cry,” said Stephanie Portillo, 21 and a project manager for Hunts Point Speaks. “How do you explain this to your younger siblings?”

The Bronx came out in force for Clinton, with the highest percentage of votes for the Democrat among the five boroughs. According to preliminary results from the city Board of Elections, 93 percent of Hunts Point and Longwood residents voted for Clinton, while only 5.41 percent voted for Trump. Hunts Point had one of the largest percentage of Clinton voters in the city, and larger than any other neighborhood in the Bronx by 5 percentage points.

“It’s unfortunate we live in a society where a campaign can run on racism,” said Jahad Brown, 50.

However, not everyone despaired at the results.

“I believe it’s alright” said 20-year-old Shandel Miles, though he did say he was “nervous,” that Trump had access to the nuclear codes.

Perhaps residents here had a sixth sense that tallies would not go their way. Even on Tuesday voters expressed less passion for this election than the past two.

About 40 percent of Hunts Point residents did not turn out to vote Tuesday night. In the Bronx as a whole, only about 46 percent of eligible voters voted. In 2008, 53 percent of the Bronx electorate voted, and 52 percent voted in 2012.

“It’s a pretty painful day,” said Manuel Garcia, a resident of Hunts Point who came to IS 74 to vote last Tuesday. He voted for Hillary “only because I know Bernie will get a position in higher office.” He said he was not as excited today as he was in 2008 and 2012.

Maria Lopez, a teacher’s aide from Longwood who voted at PS 75 on Faile Street, was also not inspired. “I feel confused now,” she said. “I felt secure before, I knew who I wanted to vote for.”

Even some first-time voters couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm. “I just feel like these two people… there’s nothing really to be excited about,” said 18-year-old Julie Francis.

Poll workers at both IS 74 and PS 75 noticed the change from 2012. “It’s been a medium constant flow,” said one worker who preferred to remain anonymous.

Another worker who has worked the past four election days noted that while the count was clearly higher than the past three years, it was still smaller than 2012. Both poll workers said that they had minimal voter problems, and the longest one person reported waiting was 30 minutes.

Davina Martinez, 34, said she had one primary motivation to make it the polls on Election Day.

“I think I just voted for the first female president,” she said comparing the feeling to voting for Obama in 2008. “I’m expecting a little more civility. That’s what I voted for.”

She would be disappointed, as were so many Hunts Point residents.

“I have hope,” said Yadi Cabral, 39, on Tuesday, before results were apparent. She voted for Clinton with her 14-year-old son by her side. “I’m happy that the election is over. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.”

Locally, Democratic incumbents swept back into office virtually unchallenged. Rep. Jose E. Serrano was reelected as the South Bronx’s representative in Washington. City Councilman Rafael Salamanca, running unopposed, garnered nearly 100 percent of the vote to reclaim the 17th City Council district he first won last February in a special election. State Senators Ruben Diaz Sr., Jeff Klein and Jose M. Serrano all pulled in 90 or more percent of the vote to cruise back into office, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo also tallied an easy victory.

In an email to The Express, Rep. Serrano said he was anxious about the new administration.

“Our nation lost an important opportunity to make a historic choice and to build on President Obama’s accomplishments,” said Serrano. “The ramifications of this election will be felt in a number of areas that impact Bronxites- from the Supreme Court to our immigration system to federal funding for programs that Bronxites use every day.”

He added that he is “prepared to fight against any effort to marginalize or harm” his constituents, on the part of the new administration.

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