Crock the vote! B’Heights seniors: We can’t reach new polling booth across busy roads

They vote no: Residents of 10 Clinton St. in Brooklyn Heights are furious that they’ll have to cross two treacherous streets to get to their polling site on primary day, and want the Board of Elections to move it closer for Election Day.
Brooklyn Paper
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This election is really going South for elderly voters in Brooklyn Heights.

The Board of Elections’s decision to move a polling station from the now-shuttered Brooklyn Heights Library to a site across two treacherous major roads will disenfranchise the many senior residents of a neighboring co-op building who are too frail to reach the new ballot-casting base, say locals — a move that has so outraged residents, one likened it to voter suppression below the Mason–Dixon Line

“There are people who won’t vote at all, one of my neighbors can’t even walk to his car,” said Helen Spirer, who lives in the Cadman Towers complex at Cadman Plaza West and Clinton Street. “I feel like this is disengaging voters. I’d expect this in the South, but I wouldn’t expect this in Brooklyn.”

Golden-aged voters living the building at 10 Clinton St. are demanding the city find another location that is more accessible for them, after it told the denizens just a week ago that they will have to travel to the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice on Adams and Johnston to exercise their democratic rights in the upcoming primary and general elections, as the book depository where they used to vote is about to be demolished,

To get to the new spot, the building’s wizened residents — most of whom are in wheelchairs or use walkers or canes — will have to contend with heavy traffic, bus lanes, and roadworks as they navigate Cadman Plaza West and Adams Street, and many simply won’t risk it, said the co-op’s head honcho.

“That’s a very dangerous thoroughfa­re,” said Cadman Towers Association president Toba Potosky. “If you ask anyone who lives in this area, they go out of their way to avoid Adams Street.”

Residents are urging the Board of Elections to relocate the polling place to their own small community room, one in another Cadman Towers building across Clark Street, or Congregation Mount Sinai next door.

The Board of Elections told Potosky it is looking into moving the site for the election in November, but that it is too late to change polling place for the Sept. 13 primary, he said.

Fortunately for the denizens of 10 Clinton St., there isn’t a whole lot they can vote on in the upcoming primary race — no one is challenging State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D–Brooklyn Heights), or Democratic District Leaders Anne Swern and Josh Skaller, and no other party has more than one contender.

Those who can’t make it to the polling site or secure an absentee ballot in time will miss out on voting for judicial delegates.

The Board of Elections did not return requests for comment.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Common Sense says:
You can make a postal vote if you cannot get to the polling station. Literally having to do nothing more than cross a street is the most mild change possible. Old and whiney.
Aug. 30, 2016, 7:14 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
They would have to cross a street 3 times. 3. They would be able to walk through a park, which is a lot better than most anyone else gets. They throw a hissy fit when what they want isn't literally across the street from them, then they call the younger generation "entitled"
And adams street crossings are so regimented by traffic lights now. It's not like it was in 1989.
Aug. 30, 2016, 8:09 am
Scott from Williamsburg says:
Google says it's a 3 minute walk. I know it will take longer for older people but seriously? Take a cab! Call the campaigns -- they will find someone to drive you! My gosh!
Aug. 30, 2016, 10:11 am
bored of elections says:
Following up on Common Sense comments, apparently this Potosky fella has never heard of absentee balloting. Here is the application:
The deadline is a week before the election, so plenty of time to get this done folks.
Aug. 30, 2016, 11:22 am
JUSTINE SWARTZ from Brooklyn Heights says:
Lauren Gill, you are showing your Yellow Press
Credentials. Cadman Plaza Library is a gorgeous
multi-storied building, in good condition, decorated with priceless Art Deco. During the school year it is home to thousands of school children.
The City should re-open the Brooklyn Heights
Library as a polling place, as a learning place for
the thousands of school children who will have
no where to go after school hours. As a lively Community Center for the Golden Seniors who
are physically unable to walk more than a few blocks.
Aug. 30, 2016, 12:34 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
Bored of elections, which of the reasons given on the absentee ballot form would apply to these people? You're not suggesting that they should lie under oath, are you?
Aug. 30, 2016, 4:55 pm
Wizened Walker says:
Transportation Alternatives told me to hop on a bike...only the selfish need automobiles
Aug. 30, 2016, 6:24 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
The "Greatest Generation"..... of whiners.
Aug. 30, 2016, 6:26 pm
Paul from UWS says:
Elderly people do struggle crossing large city roadways. Houston Street's lights never allow for enough time. Same goes for Park Ave.
Aug. 30, 2016, 8 pm
Old Lady from Brooklyn Heights says:
Where am I? What's going on? I'm confused!
What is this? I can't hear anything!
Aug. 31, 2016, 6:55 am
bored of elections says:
Gary, I would never encourage anyone to lie under oath. Anyone who cannot cross a four-lane arterial with a large pedestrian refuge in the middle, allowing them to only cross two lanes per walk signal, can honestly answer that they have a physical disability. Ditto the 0.6 mile walk round-trip.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:12 am
Marilyn Berkon from Brooklyn Heights says:
The Brooklyn Public Library, with their arrogant indifference to the public need, did not even bother to inform the Board of Elections that they would no longer make the Brooklyn Heights Branch available to voters. When voters called in to question their original notice of polling place, it was the first the Board of Elections heard of the problem. They were forced to scrounge for a new place in a big hurry. Blame the indifferent BPL. The library sits there for our use. Let them unlock its doors for the election. That is the place where we should be voting. Don't ask people with any kind of disability to navigate those dangerous crossings and that distance for a place on Adams Street. By the way, as Justine Swartz says, our library is not a mere book depository. A beautiful, large, strong, solid library is going to be demolished for a 36-story luxury condo over 400 feet high. The replacement beneath it, less than half the size of ours, will indeed be a mere depository, if it has any number of books at all. Look at the sterile, shrunken, largely bookless replacement for the Donnell Library across from MOMA. Read all the disparaging reviews of it in the papers. Then you will see the shameful nothing planned for us here. But now our library should be opening its doors for the voting. It's bad enough they want to demolish it. At least let them open its doors for people to exercise their right to an accessible place to vote.
Aug. 31, 2016, 2:28 pm
Pooper from Neighborhood says:
The toilet facilities at the new location are by far inferior to the previous one. Ignoring the privacy issues of the small stall dividers, the flushes are not powerful enough to cover larger toilet dumps. Not only seniors, but also those who suffer from larger droppings will be scared to vote there. This is effectively silencing them, which is what HITLER did. I wouldn't use the word NAZIS to describe the decision makers, but it is 100 percent accurate. This is the voting Holocaust.
Aug. 31, 2016, 5:58 pm

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