2017-08-30 / Features

Astoria Polling Place Reopens After Five Years


NYC Councilman Costa Constantinides (c.) and NYC Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan (l.) announced the reopening of PS 2 as a now ADA-compliant polling place, in time for the 2017 primary/general election cycle. They were joined by the United Community Civic Association Vice President Carol Scarano (second from l.), Community Board 1 (CB 1) District Manager Florence Koulouris (r.), Frances Luhmann McDonald (second from r.), member, CB 1 and United Community Civic Association (UCCA) member. NYC Councilman Costa Constantinides (c.) and NYC Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan (l.) announced the reopening of PS 2 as a now ADA-compliant polling place, in time for the 2017 primary/general election cycle. They were joined by the United Community Civic Association Vice President Carol Scarano (second from l.), Community Board 1 (CB 1) District Manager Florence Koulouris (r.), Frances Luhmann McDonald (second from r.), member, CB 1 and United Community Civic Association (UCCA) member. NYC Councilman Costa Constantinides and NYC Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan announced on August 25 the reopening of PS 2 as a polling place, in time for the 2017 primary/general election cycle. They were joined by the United Community Civic Association Vice President Carol Scarano, Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris, community members and voters.

PS 2 had been open for voters in the surrounding neighborhood, but was closed as a polling place in 2012 due to lack of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility. Voters were reassigned to polling places further away from their homes, at PS 84 and PS 85, for example, causing travel and crowding issues for voters across northern Astoria.

After hearing many concerns from community members about the closure of the PS 2 polling place, Councilman Constantinides allocated $500,000 to the School Construction Authority to install a ramp at the school. This upgrade will make PS 2 accessible to voters with wheelchairs or walkers. Due to the Councilman’s capital funding and his and the community’s advocacy, with the help of Congressman Joseph Crowley the Board of Elections reopened the site as a polling place this month. This reopening will improve access to voting throughout northern Astoria.

Voters in Election Districts 46/36, 47/36, 48/36, and 83/36 will now vote at PS 2. Voters can visit nyc.pollsitelocator.com to find their polling place.

Constantinides said, “Enfranchisement is one of our country’s most sacred rights. We must ensure that all eligible voters have an accessible, safe, and convenient place to cast their ballot. After years of northern Astoria voters being moved around and reassigned polling places, I’m proud that we can reopen PS 2 for voters who live nearby. Voters at PS 2, as well as other polling places, will now have shorter distances to travel in order to vote and will enjoy less crowded sites. I appreciate Congressman Crowley for hearing our community’s concerns on this issue. Thank you to the School Construction Authority for their partnership on this capital project and to the Board of Elections for helping us reopen this site.”

NYC Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan said, “We thank Councilman Constantinides for bringing to our attention the needs of his constituents in his district. We are proud that we were able to work with the councilman and the Department of Education to reopen PS 2 as a poll site for voters.”

Congressman Joe Crowley said, “The opening of a polling place is universally good news. Thanks to Councilman Constantinides, a polling place has been restored and a community has been given greater access. This is a win for voting rights and for disability services. This is the kind of work I am proud to see happening here at home as we fight around the country to expand voting rights.”

NYS Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas said, “There is nothing more central to our democracy than the right to vote and having nearby voting places is critically important if we want people to exercise that right. I applaud Councilmember Constantinides for being a champion for Astoria’s voters. As we hear of other states adopting discriminatory laws and devious voter rules that essentially steal people’s right to vote, we can be proud that our community is taking action protecting this precious right.”

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