2012-08-15 / Front Page

Simotas, Gianaris Fight For Voters’ Rights

Continuing their work to promote voters’ rights as this fall’s elections approach, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and state Senator Michael Gianaris are calling on the New York City Board of Elections to review the redistribution of polling sites, which have changed as a result of redistricting this year. Many residents, some of whom have been voting at the same location for decades, will now have to travel significant distances to unfamiliar polling sites in order to vote.
Simotas and Gianaris sent a letter to Board of Elections President Maria R. Guastella requesting a review of the effects of the poll site redistribution as well as a solution that will enable better access to poll sites for all New York voters.
“We must protect access for all voters,” Simotas urged the Board of Elections. “Redistribution of polling sites should increase, not limit, voters’ access to the polls.”
This year’s redistricting process resulted in changes not only to the districts the legislators represent, but also the election districts and polling sites of many voters.
“We must do everything we can to ensure Western Queens residents have the best possible access to the polling sites,” Gianaris said. “Such a widescale redistribution of poll sites disenfranchises voters wanting to exercise this important right and could lead to lower voter turnout.”
“We are concerned that these changes will discourage participation and the burden of traveling will prevent many elderly and disabled members of our community from exercising their right to vote,” Simotas and Gianaris wrote.
Simotas and Gianaris also expressed concern that many residents may not be aware of the site changes and travel to the incorrect polling place, causing voters inconvenience and possibly preventing them from voting.
“I recommend that everyone keep an eye out for mail from the Board of Elections and to confirm the location of their polling site before heading out to vote,” said Simotas.

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