On this bracingly beautiful fall day, Carlos Jones, 51, voted for the first time in his life. Jones is a former felon, who lost his voting rights after more than three decades in and out of the criminal justice system.
This year, he reclaimed his franchise and has been determined to cast his ballot ever since.
Jones said he still had questions running through his mind as he walked from his home to a poll site in Ridgewood, Queens, like, “Am I going to be smart about voting? Will my vote count this time? That's the biggest one.”
Jones voted in the April presidential primary, but it didn't count, because he wasn't registered with a political party. That's not an issue during a general election.
Despite some lingering anxiety, Jones said he’s feeling good about his first real vote and offered some encouragement to anyone still pondering their choice.
“Go with what you know — who do you think will be the best fit to run this world?” said Jones. “I mean you're not making a decision by yourself. It's a collective decision.”
As he approached PS 88 on 68th street, Jones rounded the corner, walked into the poll site and stood in line for his ballot.
“It feels good getting in this line,” Jones said.
This time, his name was in the poll book. He took his ballot, filled it out, fed it into the scanner and shook the hand of the poll worker who was standing nearby.
Standing outside the site afterwards, wearing his “I voted” sticker, Jones beamed. He had advice for anyone who still needs that extra nudge to go and vote: “You're gonna be nervous. You're gonna have some mixed emotions as to who should I vote for. Just know that you exercised your voting power. So get out there!”
Polls close at 8 p.m. in New Jersey and 9 p.m. in New York.