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  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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