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.