When I was just a teenager Victor Vinicio Alvarez was brought to the United States by his parents from the Dominican Republic in 1954. Years later, he exercised his right to vote in the elections disputed between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in the convulsed 1960. This week the islander residing in Upper Manhattan returned to the polls to “give a conscious opinion in a polarized country and with other problems”
This 78-year-old from Santiago looked happy to participate in the early voting days in the center set up in his neighborhood in Washington Heights, in the Russ Berrie Center of Columbia University in the St Nicholas Avenue.
“I believe that we as immigrants who have grown up in this great country and have the opportunity to give our opinion through our vote, we must think about the best option. A few decades ago we had no voice. We had no weight in an election. Yes now!Alvarez asserted when he showed pride in having added a new suffrage to a history of more than 10 presidential elections.
The islander assures that he has never been obsessive in his electoral options by a political party.
“I have simply analyzed who is the best for our community. Sometimes i’ve been wrong. I believe that in this very historic election I have placed my trust in the best option, for our future, both in the offices of Congress and for the country ”, said the immigrant.
High turnout in Upper Manhattan
Most of the early voting sites registered floods of voters in predominantly Dominican and Hispanic neighborhoods of Inwood, Washington Heights and parts of the Bronx.
In addition to the 2020 presidential election, other offices are up for grabs in these neighborhoods, including seats in the Congress, the Senate, and the State Assembly.
Robert Jackson, a state senator who has represented Inwood and Washington Heights, is seeking another term. You are being challenged by the Republican Melinda Crump.
Also seeking re-election to represent Upper Manhattan are Assemblymembers Al Taylor and the dominican Carmen De La Rosa. Both run unopposed in an electoral circuit where historically in the last 40 years the democrats have risen in any electoral consultation.
For the House of Representatives, Congressman of Dominican origin Adriano Espaillat of the Democratic Party who is a member of the 13th district of Congress, (Washington Heights, Inwood, the West Bronx, Harlem and the Upper East Side), is also on the ballot of Elections 2020 aspiring to reelection.
Puerto Rican teacher Francisco Reyna, 48, who lives in Inwood assures that eIn those neighborhoods there will be no surprises.
“But I think that we have the option of electing representatives to the Congress and the New York Assembly, also Hispanic, we must be very demanding. Many of these politicians have disappointed us “Reyna said.
In the last elections of 2016 where Hillary Clinton disputed the highest office in the country with Republican Donald Trump who is seeking reelection, the Democratic candidate obtained close to 70% of the vote in the Washington Heights, Inwood, Harlem and Bronx axis epicenter of Dominican and Puerto Rican immigration in the Big Apple.
Similarly, former President Barack Obama won a vote that borders on the 70% in an uncontested process in northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
“It seems to me that this year we are going to exceed those numbers, people are voting more, especially young people. I’ve never seen them so enthusiastic, ”said Puerto Rican Lorenzo Martínez, 52, who works as an electoral observer for an organization that helps the elderly to vote in the voting center in the Bronx Courthouse on Grand Concourse Avenue, a bastion overwhelmingly dominated by the blue party.
Although these towns of the Big Apple are predominantly Dominican It is also the home of Puerto Rican families, Central American and Mexican.
Thrill for the vote
The also islander born in Santo Domingo, José Suárez, 63, is the first time he votes For a presidential election in this country, as he was not sure where he should do it in the Bronx this week, he was looking for information to vote this Sunday, the last day of the anticipated day.
“I just became a citizen, after 13 years of living here. Before he had voted for a long time on the island. Now I am very excited to be able to give my opinion in this process. As an immigrant and as a resident of this wonderful city, even though we are going through a bad time due to the pandemic, we must make our voice heard, ”Suárez reasoned.
Meanwhile, the also Quisqueyana Tania Peralta, 38, She was excited to vote with her cousin in the Bronx last Thursday, despite the rain and bad weather.
“I didn’t want to wait. These elections are too important to be put to the last minute. It is the second time that I vote, we as Latinos must make it clear that we have strength. I tell my people to participate that they come before, that it is very easy and fast ”, recommended Tania.
- 750,000 Dominicans they live in the Big Apple, meaning the largest Latino community according to a study by the City University of New York (CUNY).
- 39% of New York’s two million Hispanic voters are Puerto Rican.
- 30% of Latino voters He is Central American; 15 percent are from South America, and 7 percent are of Mexican descent.