A Ballot Rundown for June 23 Primary Elections


 It’s time to vote. June 23 is election day for several democratic primaries. Local registered Democrats will be selecting their candidates to run for or represent several positions including Congress for District 5, Queens Borough President, Female District Leader for District 23 Part B, Queens County Civil Court Judge and even President, and those living in District 31 will have a choice in the Assembly race. Here’s a rundown of what you might see on the ballot.

It’s New York’s turn to select their Democrat challenger for President of the United States, but with all other candidates out of the race, former Vice President Joe Biden has been selected as the  Democrat nominee, though you will see other names on the ballot.

In the Congressional Race for District 5, a two-year term position overseeing much of southern Queens, including the Rockaways, longtime congressman since 1998, Gregory Meeks, is up against a democratic primary challenge for the first time in many years. Meeks’ challenger, Shaniyat Chowdhury, the child of Bangladeshi immigrants, is a longtime Queens resident and served in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years. A graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Chowdhury has some experience in the world of politics as a former legislative aide to Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and a staffer on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign. To read more about both candidates, see their editorials on Page 15.

Due to coronavirus, the March 24 special election for Queens Borough President, to replace Melinda Katz who went on to be Queens District Attorney, was canceled. Instead, a primary vote will take place on June 23 and in a heavily Democratic borough, the Democratic primary winner has a high chance of becoming the next Queens Borough President. Vying for this seat are Costa Constantinides, Elizabeth S. Crowley, Anthony Miranda, Donovan J. Richards Jr. and Dao Yin. Queens Borough president is a four-year term, two-term limit position that overseas land-use issues, advocates for the borough in the city budget process and appoints community board positions. This election is mostly a battle between current and former city council members including Councilman Constantinedes representing his hometown’s District 22 in Astoria since 2014, Councilman Richards of Laurelton, who has represented Far Rockaway’s District 31 since 2013, and former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley who represented the 30th district of Glendale and Maspeth from 2009 to 2017. Anthony Miranda and Dao Yin are not politicians but are strong community activists. Miranda, of Fresh Meadows, is chairman of the National Latino Officers Association and a retired NYPD sergeant. Dao, of Bayside, is a former corporate controller and former executive general manager of a robotics company.

Hoping to claim the spot left open by Michele Titus, there are many candidates on the ballot for Assembly District 31, which covers South Ozone Park and Springfield Gardens to much of Far Rockaway to Arverne. Assemblymembers have a say in state legislative and budget issues. This position has a two-year term and is not term limited. Residents of that district will have a choice for their democratic nominee including, Lisa George, Khaleel Anderson, Shea Uzoigwe, Tavia Blakley, Richard David and Derrick DeFlorimonte. Some may know Lisa George as Rockaway’s Zumba queen, but more importantly, she’s a strong community activist as president of The Heart of Rockaway (THOR) civic association and a longtime a constituent liaison and supervisor of State Senator James Sanders' office. Khaleel Anderson, a Far Rockaway resident at  24 years old, would be the youngest assembly candidate if elected. Anderson has spent much of his youth as a community activist and serves on Community Board 14. Richard David of South Ozone Park is a Democratic District Leader for District 31. Uzoigwe, a South Ozone Park resident, is a first-generation American born to immigrants from Nigeria. He has worked for State Sen. James Sanders and participated in several local campaigns. Tavia Blakley is a former staffer in Titus’ office, Derrick DeFlorimonte, is a Community Board 13 member and U.S. Army soldier; and Varinder Singh is a real estate consultant and construction manager.

The race for Democratic District Leader is a unique position where there is a male and female representative. Lew Simon holds the male seat of this unpaid volunteer elected position. With the passing of longtime district leader Geraldine Chapey in February, the position is now open to represent District 23, covering Howard Beach, Ozone Park to the western end of the Rockaway peninsula. Local residents Jeanette M. Garramone and Torey Schnupp are battling it out for the spot. Garramone has a long history of activism in Rockaway and has received the endorsements of other elected officials such as Sen. Joe Addabbo and Lew Simon. Schnupp has been a strong leader in the fight against the Beach 101st shelter and the city’s handling of the homeless crisis as part of Rockaway Solutions Not Shelters. She has the endorsements of other community activists such as Rockaway’s John Cori and Ozone Park’s Sam Esposito.

Judge of the Civil Court is between Jessica Earle-Gargan and John J. Ciafone. Bayside resident, Earle-Gargan, is a former Assistant District Attorney who specialized in prosecuting domestic violence crimes. Astoria resident, Ciafone, is a trial attorney who has worked as a hearing officer for the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings and as a small claims court arbitrator.

There are several ways for Democrats to vote in these primaries. Early voting began on June 13 at the Rockaway YMCA on Beach 73nd Street and will continue daily until June 21. Polls are open daily, at various times during the week or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. For those mailing in ballots, the deadline to request an absentee ballot was June 16 and absentee ballots must be postmarked by June 23. Election Day is Tuesday, June 23. Head to your designated polling place to cast your ballots if you did not utilize one of the other options. Many of these elected candidates will go on to vie for a win in the general election on November 3.

For more information on who will be on your ballot or your local polling site, head to http://whosontheballot.org/  and make sure to do independent research on each candidate to make an informed decision when heading to the polls.

By Katie McFadden