Frontus, Supporters Rally To Demand Faster Counting of Votes

Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner

CONEY ISLAND – Votes for Assembly District 46 have still not been fully counted, which is why about three dozen people rallied with the candidate currently leading by 70 votes, Mathylde Frontus, outside her campaign office to demand answers and accountability by the Board of Elections (BOE) Saturday afternoon, Sept. 15.

Where are the results? According to sources, several scans malfunctioned while voting data was being transmitted to the BOE. You can read more about it here. Official results will be available on Sept. 28, the BOE said, two weeks after the primary.

Manny Rosa (left) and Ramon Guadalupe, a volunteer for Frontus’ campaign. (Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner)

“We are frustrated, we are upset, we are concerned. We’ve been hearing a lot of different things,” Joe Herrera said, Frontus’ campaign manager said. “Once again, the establishment ignores the needs of the people in this community. [An hour after the rally] our team is going to the BOE to demand answers. I assure you we will not rest until we make sure that every vote is counted.”

“[Frontus] is winning by 70 votes.”

With that, people cheered and cars honked, but Frontus said she is not declaring victory.

“I am not taking it for granted. People asked me if I’m declaring victory, I said no,” she said. “I am an activist and whether I win or lose look what we did, look at what we put together.”

Mathylde Frontus. (Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner)

“This campaign is about us. We ran this race and we did this. This was a campaign about the people,” Frontus spoke to her supporters. “I can’t believe people wrote us off from day one. They said we had no chance… they said she’s got no money.”

“Our last campaign filing was just a pittance. It was just $2,000 dollars and we were being outspent,” she claimed. “Our opponent had over six figures. But how did we do this, brothers and sisters? How did we do it? We did it the old-fashioned way. We did it with love in our hearts.”

Frontus’ 32 Day Pre Primary Report (her campaign finances since last month) shows that she had a closing balance of $3,092.78. Since last month, her campaign received $3,530.52 in contributions. Her opponent, Ethan Lustig-Elgrably’s campaign, had a closing balance of $65,832.71 last month. He received $16,658 in contributions. 

Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner

“We do our part and we expect [the government] to do their part. And as I look right now, I am reminded of the part that we are doing,” Frontus said. “Look into this crowd. There are doctors here, teachers educating our children, attorneys, basketball coaches… giving back to this society. All we are asking is for a democracy that works.”

Her frustration was evident as she spoke to the crowd standing in front of her campaign office. “In 2018 we cannot and we will not have a system where we cannot tell how many voted in a community. That is unacceptable.”

She said her team is hearing that there will be a recount, to which Herrera laughed and said: “Let’s get the count before we get the recount.”

Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner

58-year-old Edwin Cosme, a business owner and long-time resident of Coney Island, spoke about the “flawed political system.” His statements were not on behalf of Frontus’ campaign.

“Our current political system…it calls for reform at BOE, it calls for reform at local polling places, it calls for reform across all party lines so that there is a more uniformed, transparent process,” Cosme said. “We call for an independent state monitor to review the general primary elections in our district.”

Ed Cosme. (Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner)

Charlene Davis, a 59-year-old Coney Island resident that was stranded in Manhattan because of Access-A-Ride last month, said she was able to get many people in wheelchairs and canes to go out and vote in the primaries. She said they deserve to know the results.

“For the first time in history, Coney Island has united together to come out in full force to vote for people they feel need to be in office,” she said. “Someone needs to be held accountable for this wrongdoing… someone… needs to go to jail. This is not right.”

Though results will not be out until next week, Frontus is optimistic.

“Even though we can’t declare victory today, we are proud of the race we ran. We are proud to have received over 3,000 votes from this district. 3,000 people had our message resonate with them.”

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Zainab Iqbal

Zainab is a staff reporter at Bklyner who sometimes writes poetry in her free time || zainab@bklyner.com

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