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Chappaqua Primary Plagued By Low Voter Turnout

The halls of some polling places in Chappaqua echoed with the sound of silence on Tuesday as virtually no voters had turned out for an uncontested primary election for Westchester County Legislator by mid-afternoon, and just a handful had filed in for a three-way contest between candidates for Republican County Committee in New Castle Precinct No. 2.  At Grafflin Elementary School on King Street, five election workers passed time reading and conversing on a sunny, warm afternoon as pupils lined up for dismissal. Poll worker John Ritch, 77, a retired labor relations employee, said the only voters who had showed up by 3 p.m. were registered Democrats and Republicans who had come to vote “by mistake” because the election for county legislator was only open to registered Independents, of whom there were only 27 in District 6, and 24 in District 1.  

Francesca Aversa, 38 years old, who was staffing the polls for the first time, passed the hours by catching up on email on her laptop computer while waiting for voters who never came. “The ones that came in were either Democrats or Republicans. One said they called the town and they told them to come but obviously they were misinformed,” the Hawthorne resident said.  A human resources coordinator for a Connecticut hedge fund, Ms. Aversa added, “it is sad to see the voter apathy because when there is an issue they are the first to complain.”

The same lonely scene played out in New Castle Town Hall, 200 South Greeley Avenue, where bored election workers chatted with one another and complained about the lack of adequate air conditioning. Town Clerk Jill Shapiro said about five voters had cast ballots at Dist. 2’s Millwood Fire Station at 366 Croton Dam Road in Ossining by late afternoon. Shapiro said the voter turn out in New Castle was sparse, but other areas of Westchester County had more heated issues and primaries, so staffing the other polling places couldn’t really be called a waste of resources. “They don’t make separate rules for New Castle,” she said.

As of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, with the tiny turnout of 19 votes and no absentee ballots, voters elected both Richard E. Henzel and Aleksandras Sepkus as committee members in the “vote for two” election for Republican County Committee representing  the 2nd Precinct in New Castle. The unofficial tally indicates Henzel received 9 votes, Sepkus 6 ,and Ehrlich 4 votes. 

82% of districts had reported, according to the unofficial tally of election results released by the Westchester County Board of Election.

Officials say the results in the write-in Independence Party balloting between incumbent Westchester County Legislator Michael Kaplowtz and Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy in the 2nd District, may not be known until September 23 at the earliest.


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