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Voters seek change in state government

Cyril Josh Barker | 4/12/2011, 5:28 p.m.

Voters during this year's midterm elections seem to have a grasp of what is going on, and it appears they're fed up with the performance of state government and are at a crossroads as to who they'll vote for.

While New York has historically had a low voter turnout, with the recent conflicts in Albany, the pinch of the economic crisis and a number of incumbents who have been in office for several terms, many voters are looking for change.

As the debates go on, mailers come in and in the attack ads begin to bombard the airwaves voters are now getting all they can to make an informed decision on who will be New York State's next leaders The AmNews spoke to a few voters to see how they feel about the upcoming elections.

"I've kept up with the election process this year because of how badly the state government has been doing the past couple of years," said Bronx resident Kamal Williams.

While Williams said he's eager to vote against Ruben Diaz for state senator, a big issue for him is the state budget and the cost of living.

"What a lot of newcomers should do to increase voter turnout this year is to remind voters how the incumbents are linked to the steady decline of this state and how things have gotten worse," Williams said. "They should come with fresh ideas and show they are eager to try to get some new energy into the system."

Harlem resident Justin Moore knows all of his state elected officials, but said he didn't know all of the candidates running for attorney general and comptroller. To keep up with what's going on, he uses social networking sites and blogs to learn about candidates. Like most voters, he's following the race in his area, which is District 15. As far as who he'll voting for, Moore responded, "None of the above."

"To be honest, the challengers have not made a compelling case," he said. "I have gotten some stuff for attorney general, but there are a lot of people running, so I'm waiting for the debate to see what they have to say and make an informed decision. I am frustrated with New York politics and especially the Democratic Party."

Kameelah Dixon of Brooklyn said that she votes in every election and uses online and print media to learn about the candidates. Not a big television watcher, she doesn't see all of the debates.

"On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd probably give myself an 8 on how involved I am in the political process," she said.

Voting is so important to George Bellenger that he canceled a vacation in order to be in the city to vote in the upcoming elections. Jobs, affordable housing and crime are at the top of his list of important issues when deciding who to vote for, but he's also looking for new faces.

He said, "I'm listening to what more of the new people are saying and how they are challenging the incumbents. Some of those people have been in office for a while."

Taking note of mailers that have been sent out and canvassers in his neighborhood, Bellenger said some candidates are doing a better job than others of reaching out to the community. He specifically named attorney general candidate Eric Schinderman as a recognizable candidate to him because of his heavy presence. Bellenger also said he watches the debates.

"I want to hear what they have to say before making a final decision," he said. "I'm definitely looking for some changes."