Voter turnout was pitiful. With 359,029 eligible voters in the district, only 15,545 voted — about four percent.
Experts note that low voter turnout generally favors the incumbent in elections, and is caused by many factors such as registration deadlines long before the actual election, and voters not being mailed election information such as polling locations.
“Not mailing polling locations to voters, requiring registration at least a month before elections, and holding non-concurrent elections should all create low-turnout environments,” writes Jessica Trounstine, a political science professor at the University of California Merced. “These low-turnout environments enhance the incumbency advantage and produce policy that is beneficial to subgroups with a strong fiduciary interest in local politics because they are likely to participate even when voting is onerous.”
The New York City Campaign Finance Board made a ranking of states with the best voter turnout last year, and New York was placed at 46th. Six of the top 10 states in voter turnout all had modernized voting laws such as same day registration.
“Our democracy only works better when you exercise your power to vote,” said Councilman Carlos Menchaca in a Facebook post on Tuesday urging people to vote.
Kurzon showed good sportsmanship and congratulated Velázquez via Twitter:
Congrats to @NydiaVelazquez. I wish her well and hope she continues to fight for the people. Thank you to everyone who voted & @YungmanLee
Velázquez became the first elected Puerto Rican woman in Congress in 1993. In 2003, Hispanic Business Magazine honored her with it’s first “Woman of the Year” award because of her support of minority small businesses. She has also been criticized for raising money from corporations such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, and supported the loosening of the Glass-Steagall Act, which is regarded as setting the stage for the 2008 financial crisis.