Open Closed Polling Places

To The Editor:

NYC’s Board of Elections cited a low voter turnout for the June primary and a  declining participation rate over the last few years.

There’s a good reason why. The BOE closed a number of polling sites because they were deemed inaccessible to handicapped voters under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Sending absentee ballots to disabled voters instead of closing polling sites for everyone makes more sense.

Closing polling sites disenfranchises thousands of voters for the sake of a few. Kew Gardens Hills voters lost their chance to cast ballots at a conveniently located site when the BOE abandoned PS 164 over two years ago. Unless the BOE corrects this situtation, its initials really stand for Barrel Of Errors.

Richard Reif,
Flushing

One thought on “Open Closed Polling Places

  1. Monica Bartley

    I’m writing in response to a letter from Richard Reif, ‘Open Closed Polling Places’, July 3, 2014. According to Mr. Reif, the closure of the polling sites that are inaccessible is the cause of low voter turnout for the primary election. He contends that sending absentee ballots to disabled voters instead of closing polling sites for everyone makes more sense. It doesn’t make sense to those of us with disabilities who want to vote alongside Mr. Reif.

    Voters with disabilities, like every other New Yorker, should be able to vote at their polling site. And, it’s the law. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 stipulates that all polling sites should be accessible as does the Americans with Disabilities Act. Why should people with disabilities be denied that right? Maybe Mr. Reif doesn’t know that voting by absentee ballots segregates people with disabilities who want to vote within their communities. And, unless the election is close, absentee ballots are not always counted – disenfranchising many voters. Wouldn’t it be better to make sure that all schools and all polling sites are accessible? Why exclude anyone who wants to vote?

    I agree that Mr. Reif should be able to vote conveniently in his community. But the answer is not to exclude his neighbors who may need a ramp or a wider door in order to use the site. Perhaps he would do better to join us in insisting that all poll sites be made accessible rather than exclude others so that he can vote more easily.

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