New Yorkers, Trump and Clinton included, hit the polls


New Yorkers – two of whom are on the ballot – took to the polls Tuesday to vote for the next president of the United States following a long, bitter and polarizing race.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump voted Tuesday morning at their local polling places. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, were cheered on by other voters as they cast their ballots at Douglas G. Griffin School in Chappaqua, just after 8 a.m.

“I know how much responsibility goes with this. So many people are counting on the outcome of this election, what it means for our country. And I'll do the very best I can if I'm fortunate enough to win today," Clinton said.

Later, around 11 a.m., Trump was booed as he arrived at P.S. 59 in midtown to vote; he was accompanied by his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and Ivanka’s 5-year-old daughter Arabella Rose.

Asked if he would concede if the TV networks declared Clinton the winner, he answered, "Well, we'll see what happens." Trump, who has argued that the political system is rigged against him, previously has said he might not accept the election results if he loses.

Some New Yorkers had to wait awhile to cast their ballots, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray, who stood in line for about 25 minutes before voting in Park Slope.

"I'll take my 'H' off so they don't accuse me of electioneering,” de Blasio said, removing his Clinton pin. 

His pick, he told reporters after high-giving a fellow voter: Hillary Clinton, whom he had belatedly endorsed months later than the rest of the Democratic establishment.  

"I feel great about Hillary Clinton's chances today, and I'm looking forward to a victory tonight," de Blasio said, adding, "I think sometimes when we're in the middle of making history, it sometimes is hard to take stock of the moment. There's something amazing happening today. I really believe this is the day we're going to elect the first woman president of the United States of America."

McCray said voting for Clinton felt "wonderful."

"This is a historic moment, and I signed in my bubble slowly to savor the moment," she said. 

At P.S. 65 in Tompkinsville, Staten Island – a liberal, ethnically diverse corner of an otherwise Republican borough – there was a mix of voters: enthusiastic and reluctant Clinton supporters.

Maria Montanez, 31, a housekeeper from Tompkinsville and early Bernie Sanders supporter, said neither candidates' platforms inspired her. She reluctantly voted for Clinton as the lesser of two evils. 

"I have so many mixed emotions about this election," Montanez said, who added that “this whole election has been like two big kids poking each other, fighting with each other." 

She said Trump doesn’t have the experience that would qualify him for the White House. 

"I'm not completely satisfied with either of the candidates," she said. "There's just no way I could vote for Trump. All he's done is build buildings and disrespect people."

She said that she believes Trump is riling up racist factions of America and dividing the country. 

"We all bleed. Color shouldn't define any of us," she said. We don't need his hatred. We need to come together to fix our country."

Klaudio Kushi, 28, an NYPD officer from Staten Island's Sunnyside neighborhood, said he voted for Clinton because of her experience as secretary of state and her foreign and domestic policies. 

"Hillary is the best option for our country. She is the most qualified to be the next president," he said. "The scariest thing is picturing Donald Trump with the country's GDP in his hands. What he's done as a businessman does not translate to running a country."

He conceded that Clinton "made a mistake" with her private email server. 

"Hillary made a mistake with her emails, but they don't concern me. The content of the emails means this is a non-issue," he said. 

He also admitted that he "loved Trump's enthusiasm" and his policies on law enforcement. 

"He's right, we need law and order. Our society can't exist if we don't maintain the peace," he said. "But if you look at the whole country, Hillary's the best option."

Nancy Shullman, 59, a jazz singer from Ward Hill, said she was a huge Clinton fan and had followed her closely through her public life. 

She said she was confident, or "desperately confident," that Clinton would win. 

"I'm desperately confident," she said. "I'm quite afraid how Trump has pushed us in the wrong direction as a country. If he wins, we risk losing all the great progress we've made under Obama."

Shullman added that there's a palpable divide among Islanders who support each candidate on Staten Island. 

"Unfortunately there is a lot of bigotry that is dividing us," she said of the borough. "We're at a point where a lot of people are holding onto the past."

She noted the large populations of white Islanders tend to support Trump, "the most unqualified presidential candidate we've had." And added that she will be hugely relieved after a Clinton victory. 

"I think we're living in a white enclave--that's changing as more people move here--but were on a white enclave of people that moved here to be part of that white enclave."

Frank Ragu, 37, a FDNY firefighter from Staten Island's Silver Lake neighborhood, said he enthusiastically voted for Trump--even though he described the Republican candidate as "not a great person." 

Ragu said Clinton is a criminal and said he couldn't look past her scandals, including Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation's role in rebuilding Haiti after its devastating earthquake in January of 2010.

"Everything Hillary Clinton touches seems to be constantly overrun with corruption," he said. "Trump will keep our country safe. How could Hillary keep our country safe if she couldn't even keep an embassy safe?" 

"Trump has the skills to run this country," he continued. 

In Brooklyn, amNewYork spoke with a number of people who were "with her."

Carroll Gardens resident Daniela Masciangelo, 42, said she was proud to vote for Clinton on Tuesday.

"I feel like the whole fact that she's possibly the first woman president is almost secondary to me," said Masciangelo, a nurse.  "I was voting and feeling scared about the possibility of her not being president. I kind of felt like she was the only choice." 

Cobble Hill resident Kenneth Anker, 47, brought his 8-year-old son, Henry, into the booth with him as he voted for Clinton.

"I felt it was very important and meaningful and necessary," he said about casting his vote for the former secretary of state.

As for his son, Anker said, "He's been very involved and asking questions and probably as troubled as I am about the whole election process this year." 

His son was wearing the "I voted" sticker on Tuesday. Anker, a psychologist, said he needed to show him "the importance of putting in your vote, being part of the process." 

Fellow Cobble Hill resident Noor Zakka, 34, said Clinton is "the qualified candidate" and "the better choice."

But Zakka, a fashion designer, didn't get a sticker to proclaim her vote. "They ran out of stickers," she said. "I was not expecting the line wrapped around the building. That's great -- everybody is voting, everybody is out there." 

Poll worker Sean Houston, 25, said he was surprised the Cobble Hill location ran out of stickers so quickly. "People were like pulling them off the floor," he said, pointing to a sticker that was stuck on the floor by the entrance. "I didn't think it was going to be as much of a rush so early. It's a good thing." 

He said each table started the day with a large roll of stickers, but that they were gone by early afternoon. By about 1:30 p.m., he said, each of the five scanners had recorded about 900 votes. 

Polls begin to close at 7 p.m. Eastern Time with the first meaningful results due about an hour later. U.S. television networks called the winner of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections at 11 p.m. or shortly after.

More than 40 million voters cast ballots before Election Day in early voting in many states.

An early indicator of who might prevail could come in North Carolina and Florida, two must-win states for Trump that were the subject of frantic last-minute efforts by both candidates.

Races in both those states were shifting from favoring Clinton to being too close to call, according to opinion polls.

Democrats also are seeking to break the Republican lock on control of the U.S. Congress.

A strong turnout of voters for Clinton could jeopardize Republican control of the Senate, as voters choose 34 senators of the 100-member chamber on Tuesday. Democrats needed a net gain of five seats to win control. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives were being contested. The House was expected to remain in Republican hands.

 

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