Local Leaders Failing Voters in Queens
Aug 28, 2018 | 8555 views | 0 0 comments | 615 615 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New York City's September 13th primary election is juts weeks away, but many Kew Gardens Hills residents will be unable to vote because they don't have an accessible poll site.

Blame that disgrace on a trifecta of failure by Councilman Rory Lancman, School Construction Authority (SCA) and Board of Elections. Their indifference, ineptitude and inexcusable neglect caused voter suppression for people they're obligated to serve.

The Board of Elections (BOE) closed our regular poll site at P.S. 164 in 2012 because it didn't have a wheelchair ramp that complied with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Since then we've had to vote at P.S. 165, located more than a mile away from our neighborhood. This makes voting difficult for seniors like me and others who don't drive and can't afford bus fare. Getting an absentee ballot is difficult.

Councilman Lancman obtained a $375,000 grant for an ADA-compliant ramp and wheelchair lift to be built by SCA.

In February, his office stated that the ramp would be in place by April 30. That didn't happen. The next announced deadline was June 30, also unmet.

The de Blasio administration recently said that the ramp and wheelchair lift passed inspection and will be installed by September 13. But the BOE notified all Kew Gardens Hills registered voters by mail last week that P.S. 165 will be our poll site on September 13.

Why does the SCA take nearly a year to build a wheelchair ramp and lift? Why would the BOE rather close poll sites than reopen them?

It lost a court battle to shut down Lefrak City's polling site, which reopened earlier this year. And Congresswoman Grace Meng pressured the BOE to restore the Latimer Gardens polling site in Flushing

What went wrong? Councilman Lancman would rather further his image as a progressive social justice warrior then focus on the real needs of his constituents. That has

consequences, just ask Joe Crowley.

Richard Reif is a resident of Kew Gardens Hills.
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