New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Wednesday did not mince words in urging voters in the US Presidential elections to “get rid of Trump” by electing Biden/Harris on the Working Families Party (WFP) line and supporting progressive candidates down the ballot.
“Trump’s administration has caused incalculable damage to our communities, and particularly our marginalized communities,” said Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, who is also running for re-election, in a message to constituents.
But he said the fight isn’t over after one election.
“With new elected leaders, we have a chance to push for progress in addressing climate justice, fixing the inequities in the criminal justice system, re-imagining public safety, and making sure all of us have access to the basic necessities of housing, food and healthcare,” Williams said.
“Let’s make sure our movement continues to be strong right here in New York City,” he added. “I’m proud to be advocating with all of you, and I can’t wait to continue that fight through November, and beyond.
“I’m running for re-election to be the people’s advocate, and I’m fighting every day to make sure that the voice of the people will always be heard,” Williams affirmed.
After long lines snaked around polling sites in New York City in the first day of early voting on Saturday in the US Presidential Elections, Williams called on the city’s Board of Elections to establish more polling sites to accommodate the flood of voters.
“Across the city, thousands of people waited hours in line to cast their ballot on the first day of early voting. This demonstrates energy, enthusiasm and engagement from New York voters. The turnout today surprised and inspired me,” Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, told Caribbean Life late Saturday.
“While long lines are a sign of civic pride and determination, they are also a sign that we may need to open additional sites in the future to meet the demand of the electorate,” he added. “The administration (City of New York) and Board of Elections must monitor the next couple of days very closely.
“Thankfully, there are nine days remaining, including another weekend to vote early,” Williams continued. “I encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of this opportunity to cast your ballot at the best time for you, while also reducing the expected strain on the system Nov. 3.
“This is our opportunity to vote for a government that reflects and represents the needs of our communities,” he said.
But, even as some of them are running in uncontested races in the Nov. 3 general elections, Caribbean American legislators in New York have been urging nationals to vote in what they describe as, perhaps, the most important US Presidential Elections in their life time.
“In our lifetimes, we have heard before, ‘this is the most important election ever’, but never has this been truer than this 2020 election,” said veteran New York State Democratic Assemblyman Nick Perry, the Jamaican-born Democratic representative for the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn, in a Caribbean Life interview.
“I firmly believe that four more years of (President Donald J.) Trump in the White House will see the destruction of America’s democracy, as we know it, and as the founding fathers tried to create,” added Perry, who is running unopposed in the Nov. 3 general elections. “After only four years, one would have to be totally blind to not see and hear the awful noise of the breaks and cracks of our Democratic system of government that no one imagined could have occurred.
“I urge everyone to not only vote for Joe Biden for President but to continue down the ballot on the Democratic line and create not a blue wave but a blue tsunami that will reverberate across the nation,” he urged.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Caribbean and other New Yorkers flooded polling sites throughout the city and waited hours in long lines to cast their vote.
New York became one of the last states to permit early voting after the State Legislature last year approved it, with Democrats taking control of both chambers – the Senate and the Assembly.
In a message to Caribbean voters on Friday, Williams had urged the community to “make a plan for how you’re voting.
“Election Day is in 11 days, and we all know that voting Donald Trump and his destructive, hateful actions out of office is the top priority,” he said. “Lives literally depend on it.
“Early voting starts tomorrow (today, Saturday),” he added. “There are three ways you can vote this year. I’ll be voting tomorrow (Saturday) on the Working Families Party line.”
He said Caribbean nationals can vote via absentee ballot, which must be submitted by Oct. 27; early voting, which runs from Saturday through Nov. 1; and vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 3.
“Before you head to the polls, make sure to check your voter registration,” urged Williams in his email message. “This election is critical, and there’s no time to waste.
“Whether you’re voting on Election Day, voting early in person, or submitting an absentee ballot, remember to vote Biden/Harris on the WFP line to get rid of Trump and to begin holding them accountable by strengthening our progressive movement,” he added.
Caribbean American Democratic Congressman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, had also urged nationals to devise a plan on voting.
“I will be casting my ballot, along with my family, during the early vote period, which begins this Saturday, October 24, and I encourage everyone to make a plan to vote either by absentee, early vote or on Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3,” Clarke told Caribbean Life on Friday.
“We got to start our robocalls encouraging people to go out and vote Democratic from the top of the ticket to the bottom,” she added. “Now that we turn our sights to the November elections, which will impact our community for generations to come, I hope you stand with me in our fight to defeat Trump on Nov. 3.”
Political newcomer New York State Democratic Assemblywoman Phara Souffrant Forrest – the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who is again competing against African American former Assemblyman Walter T. Mosely, III, in the general elections for the 57th Assembly District in Brooklyn – also urged Caribbean voters to “get your plan together.
“If you’re going to vote by mail, sign it and send it in,” Soffrant Forrest, whose husband is Jamaican Charles Forrest, told Caribbean Life. “If you’re going to vote in person, make sure you have your documents with you.
“The idea is that they’re (Republicans) banking on us not to have a plan,” she added. “Early voting starts on the 24th (of October). Once you have a plan, you don’t have to worry about voter suppression.”