Bronx residents cast their votes to decide local seats and proposals

Voters in the Bronx are heading to the polls Tuesday to decide who will take the open seats in the city council, in addition to two citywide referendums, including one that would change the future of the New York City election process.The candidates for city council are as follows:DISTRICT 8Edwin Marcial (R) Philip Reed (D)DISTRICT 11Jayson Blau (R)Oliver Koppell (D/WFP)Patrick McManus (C)DISTRICT 12Curtis Brook (R/C)Larry Seabrook (D)DISTRICT 13Madeline Provenzano (D)Egidio Sementilli (C)DISTRICT 14Evelyn Russell (R)Maria Baez (D/WFP)Ali Mohamed (C)DISTRICT 15Joel Rivera (D/WFP)Luana M. Rodriguez (I)Luana Malavolta (C)DISTRICT 16Helen D. Foster (R/D/WFP)Kevin Brawley (C)DISTRICT 17Jose Serrano (D/WFP)Agustin Alamo Estrada (C/I)DISTRICT 18Fabian A. Feliciano (R)Annabel Palma (D/WFP)Pedro G. Espada (I)William Newmark (C)

In addition, a referendum concerning non-partisan politics is on the ballot this year. This referendum would eliminate party labels from city elections, which would also eliminate the need for primaries. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-NYC) has been pushing the idea for months, saying that it would give minorities and lesser-known candidates a better chance at winning political seats. However, critics say doing away with party labels would only confuse voters and give the wealthy an advantage. If approved, the changes would not go into effect until 2009. The ballot also contains two referendums that deal with state matters outside the Bronx. If approved, they would let small towns upstate borrow money to build sewers and new schools. Voters will also decide on a referendum on streamlining the way the city hands out contracts, and a referendum that would replace the Voter Assistance Commission with a seven-member panel. Polls close Tuesday at 9 p.m. To find voting locations, call the New York City Board of Elections at 866-NYC-VOTE.

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