Simotas and Peralta Continue Fight for Voters’ Rights

Board of Elections rejects call to assign personnel to closed polling site
November 7, 2012

Astoria, N.Y. – This week the Board of Elections denied Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and State Senator Jose Peralta’s request to assign personnel or poll workers to the closed polling site at Public School 2 to alert voters to the closure of the polling site. Many residents have been voting at Public School 2 for decades and the confusion resulting from the change with no support from the Board of Elections will result in disenfranchisement of many of our neighbors.

In its reply to the legislator’s letter, the Board of Elections stated that they were denying the request because they have already notified residents about poll site changes. “It is the Board’s responsibility to provide clear and consistent information, which they have repeatedly failed to do,” said Simotas. “The Board must take appropriate corrective action. I don’t want one voter discouraged from voting because of inconvenience or confusion. That is why, along with Fran McDonald, a long time resident and active member of the community, and Senator Peralta, I will ensure that there will be volunteers at P.S.2 to do the job the Board of Elections is refusing to do.”

"The Board of Elections has repeatedly said that the polling site changes were made to accommodate seniors and the disabled," State Senator Jose Peralta said. "The irony is that seniors and people who have difficulty getting around are the ones most upset with the changes. Because the Board denied our request, it is left to us to do the Board's job and help voters who have used P.S. 2 for years, perhaps even decades, get to the right polling place."

Ms. McDonald explained, “The closure of P.S. 2 as a polling site during a year of reapportionment and the Presidential election creates a perfect storm of confusion, record voting and bureaucratic disenfranchisement of voters.”