September 12—Thousands of Stuyvesant Town tenants learned yesterday that they would have to go across East 14th Street to 611 East 13th Street in Campos Plaza Community Center to vote, in accordance with a Poll Site Change Notice from the Board of Elections (BoE).
Year after year, polling sites, once numerous on the grounds of STPCV, have disappeared. Now even residents with 20th Street addresses are instructed to go to East 13th Street.
Tenants bombarded the STPCV Tenants Association Message Center and Council Member Keith Powers’s office on Wednesday, September 11, when the notices hit. Powers’s office had been working with the Board of Elections to find sites within the complex that would be more readily accessible, but the BoE did not inform him that a decision had been made or that notices would be sent. While the BoE has very stringent requirements for accessibility and number of voters allowed at any one site, there are sites on the property—such as the Community Center—that could be used, even if regular operations have to be suspended for one or two days a year.
“This begins to feel like voter suppression,” said Susan Steinberg, TA president. “What about other commercial or storage spaces on the property? And why is the Community Center no longer being made available?” said Steinberg. “We are flabbergasted that a community once riddled with polling sites now can’t accommodate its voters.”
Powers’s office is still trying to get this situation resolved so that seniors and the disabled, for whom the site was ostensibly changed, do not have to cross a street made dangerous for them by L-train construction and others don’t have to walk as much as half a mile to vote.