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Voters angry over poll site changes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Arthur DeLuca has been voting in the same poll site since 1950.

But when he received notification in the mail from the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) saying his poll location had been moved almost a mile further away, the 87-year-old Oakland Gardens senior said he initially lost all desire to exercise his rights.

“I voted all my life. I said I was just going to stop,” DeLuca said. “It’s not right.”

Several poll sites across the city have changed — including 51 in Queens — after recent redistricting redrew the physical boundaries of election districts, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez.

Alternative poll sites also needed to replace numerous locations throughout all five boroughs that were found not to be handicap accessible, Vazquez said.

“It really varies on a case-by-case basis,” she said. “We tried to make the changes as convenient as possible for voters.”

Assembly hopeful Nily Rozic, a 25th District candidate, said the modifications were “another example of BOE disenfranchising voters, especially the elderly.”

“In the very least, the community should be given the opportunity to comment in a public forum. Many voters will not be able to exercise their right to vote due to these changes,” she said.

Vazquez said it would not have been the city BOE’s responsibility to hold a public hearing or commenting period, adding that voters received notification in the mail if their voting location had changed.

“These are the lines that were given to us by the state,” she said. “From there, the way that the districts were drawn — that is how our election district lines have changed as well.”

DeLuca, who lives on 207th Street, said he has been casting his ballot at P.S. 162, located at 201-02 53rd Avenue, since he first started voting. His new site — the Marie Curie Middle School at 46-35 Oceania Street — will be a trek, said the elder who limits his driving.

“We’ve been living here for so long, voting in the same place. Suddenly they changed it. I don’t think they care about the elderly anymore. I don’t see how they could change it,” he said. “How could they do it?”

The BOE did not specify how many sites throughout the city have changed.

Voters unsure of where their poll sites are located can visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.