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West New York Mayor Felix Roque talks to voters outside his polling place on Jefferson St. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Roque pleased with early turnout

Early turnout appears low in West New York

By Nikita Biryukov, May 14 2019 12:46 pm

West New York Mayor Felix Roque saw Tuesday morning’s slow turnout as a positive marker for his chance at a third term.

“It’s low turnout, which is actually very favorable for us. Usually when you have a high turnout, you have to worry that there are issues out there, but the low turnout is the people who were actually going on the GOTV and getting them out to vote,” Roque said after he cast his ballot Tuesday morning. “That’s our people, so that’s why you see a lot of people just shaking my hand and hugging me because these are our people coming out to vote.”

Early indications are that turnout was roughly half of what it was in 2017 at 11 a.m., though school board races that were the top local races on the ballot that year.

That year, 6,049 ballots were cast, according to the Hudson County Clerk’s office.

If votes are coming in at half the pace, that could make turnout in West New York lower than the 4,491 votes that were cast in 2015’s mayoral election, when Roque won a second term by 16 points over Count Wiley.

“The fact that it’s cold and it’s raining — a lot of people don’t want to vote. In a way it’s beneficial to me, but I would love for everybody to vote,” Roque said. “I keep telling people: I came from Cuba. In my homeland, you can’t do this, so I’m blessed to be in this country that you’re able to express your liberties.”

It’s worth noting that the day is still young, and turnout could surge once voters get out of work.

This year, Roque is running against a slate that includes three incumbent commissioners that ran alongside him in 2015.

Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez is seeking the town’s mayorship with commissioners Cosmo Cirillo and Margarita Guzman running at his side. Commissioner Sue Colacurcio is the only incumbent commissioner running for re-election on Roque’s slate.

The mayor doesn’t have much campaigning planned for the rest of the day, though he plans to make sure the poll workers from both parties are well-cared for, despite the fact that a Rodriguez poll worker attempted to stop Roque from voting.

“I’m just visiting people, making sure that all the workers — including the opposition’s — are fed, and that’s basically it,” Roque said. “I expect a victory three-to-one tonight, and I’m happy. I’m very happy.”

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