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Strong, Steady Turnout in Forest Hills

New Yorkers brave a cold morning to vote in Queens.

Turnout in Forest Hills was strong Tuesday morning, as motivated voters hit the polls for a bevy of close contests.

Residents in the neighborhood were enthusiastically coming out to cast votes in the presidential contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but also a handful of down-ticket races. 

Assembylwoman Grace Meng and City Councilman Dan Halloran are facing off to represent Forest Hills in Congress, while state Sen. Joe Addabbo, a Democrat, is trying to fend of City Councilman Eric Ulrich in the southern part of the neighborhood.

State Sen. Toby Stavisky is defending her seat against Republican J.D. Kim in northern Forest Hills. 

Jim Vito, who rode his bike to P.S. 144 in Forest Hills to vote early Tuesday morning, said he cast his ballot down the line for Democrats.

"They represent what I most care about," Vito said. "I don't want my public sector services motivated by private sector profits. I'm a CEO of a company, let me worry about profits." 

Roz Kelly, another Forest Hills resident, voted across the board for Republicans, starting with Mitt Romney.

"I just think it's time to have someone in there who know's what he's doing." Kelly said. "It's just that Barack Obama, he's told too many lies." 

Another Republican voter said her biggest issue in the election was job creation. 

Voter Laura Weinert said she cast her vote for Barack Obama and a slate full of Democrats. Her biggest motivating factor was the president's stance on women's issues.

"I feel like a lot of women's issues are on the line in this election," Weinert said. "I just cannot bear the thought of Mitt Romney in office. He is just a man with no core principals."

The closest of the down-ticket races both of whom represent areas hit hard by the recent storm. 

"I feel good about our chances today," Ulrich said after voting Tuesday morning. "If not, if we lose, life goes on." 

Ulrich voted on Sutter Avenue, and said afterward that he had stopped campaigning completely after Hurricane Sandy swept through the region.

He added that he thought the Board of Elections in the city had done a poor job of helping affected voters find new polling places within their districts.

"Expecting people to walk, in some cases, 30 or 40 blocks to their new polling site, not informing them of their poll site, not deciding what their poll site will be until last night at six o'clock, I think the board has once again proven it's not fit to conduct these elections." 

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