Bill by Garodnick would mean signs get posted at former poll site buildings
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Community Board 6’s budget and governmental affairs committee will be discussing legislation regarding signage for former poll sites at its upcoming meeting next Monday. The timing of the meeting is somewhat serendipitous considering the presidential primary election that will take place the following Tuesday on April 19, but City Council Member Dan Garodnick, the prime sponsor of the legislation, said that this is a coincidence since the legislation was proposed back in 2014.
The upcoming committee meeting will be the first time that the community board is addressing the legislation. Garodnick noted that the issue may have pinged on their radar because there was a City Council hearing on legislation on February 29.
The bill that the committee will be discussing would require the Board of Elections to post a notice on any building that was used as a poll site in any of the four calendar years prior to an election day, if the poll site covered one or more election districts where an election is being held. The notice would have to include the addresses of the poll sites being used for the election, a notification stating that the building is not being used as a poll site, information on the website containing the poll site locator and contact information for the BOE.
Garodnick noted that the issue is not necessarily a pressing one for this election cycle but the confusion concerning poll sites, including a number of issues in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, in previous elections a couple years ago is what prompted the legislation.
“There was a flurry of changes in a recent election, some of which were in Stuyvesant Town and I got some very frustrated calls from people who thought there should be a better system and I think they’re right,” he said. “Nothing is more frustrating to people when they come out to vote and find that their poll site has disappeared. We want to make life easy for voters and give them some direction when these things happen.”
He added that the BOE does provide written notice to residents by mail in case their poll site has changed but he feels that the additional signage would be helpful to residents as well.
“When it changes it’s a surprise, it’s frustrating and it can be discouraging,” he said. “We don’t want there to be obstacles to voting.”