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Queens Chronicle

Making voting harder

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

Just when I thought the Board of Elections couldn’t get any dumber, they proved me wrong. On primary election day — Sept. 13 — they screwed up big-time, offending most Kew Gardens Hills Democratic voters and Jewish voters. Here’s what happend. The regular polling place — PS 164 at 77th Avenue & 135th Street — was deemed inaccessible to the handicapped by the U.S. Justice Department. They were wrong, but more on that later.

The BOE replaced PS 164 with St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church at 150-75 Goethals Ave., which is in Hillcrest, not Kew Gardens Hills. This outraged Orthodox Jewish voters who refused to set foot in a Catholic church. After state Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz intervened, the BOE announced that it was shifting the polling place to the Kew Gardens Hills Library at 72-33 Vleigh Place. Everything seemed satisfactory, until election day. When I arrived at the library, a BOE poll worker told me that only registered Republicans could vote at that location. Democrats had to vote at St. Nicholas of Tolentine. Many voters were furious and didn’t vote. Whoever heard of separate polling places for Democrats and Republicans? This tops a rotten record of performance by the BOE, including faulty electronic voting machines and archaic vote tabulation procedures.

Fortunately, there was a light voter turnout on primary day. If this disaster is repeated on election day in November, most Kew Gardens Hills voters will be disenfranchised. You can count the number of registered Republicans on one hand. The solution is to restore PS 164 as the polling place for everyone. That can be done by opening the school’s entrance just off 77th Ave., allowing unimpeded access to the gym, where voting took place.

We had an expression in the Air Force for this kind of screw-up: FUBAR, for Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition. You can substitute another F-word for “fouled.” The BOE should change its initials to BOI — Band Of Idiots. They must shape up or ship out.

Richard Reif

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