After being closed since 2012, the polling site at Latimer Gardens housing complex in Flushing will re-open.
Last week Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) announced that the New York City Board of Elections agreed to her request to restore the Flushing polling site, which has been closed for nearly six years.
The site, which was originally opened in 2006, was shut down when voting was done in the complex’s community room. It was closed because the room had accessibility problems for those with disabilities. But the usage of the gym now makes the location handicap-accessible.
According to Meng, since the polling place was closed tenants of the complex and those who live in the surrounding area, have been forced to travel a half a mile away to PS 214. Meng said since most of the tenants are senior citizens who rely on canes, walkers and wheelchairs, the trek is an ordeal that has made it difficult for these individuals to vote.
In November, Meng wrote letters to both the head of the New York City Housing Authority and BOE calling for Latimer Gardens to be reinstated as a polling location.
Meng thanked the BOE for listening to the concerns she raised and said she looks forward to this restored voting location benefiting the Latimer Gardens community, and the area surrounding it, for many years to come.
“The decision to bring back the polling place at Latimer Gardens is great news and I’m thrilled that local residents will once again be able to cast their ballots there,” Meng said. “It will make it much easier for these voters to access the ballot box and it knocks down the barriers that residents faced in exercising their right to vote.”
In her letter she emphasized that the vast majority of Latimer Gardens residents were minority voters over the age of 65 and that it was a priority for BOE to reactivate the site after addressing any outstanding issues.
“Anything less results in the disenfranchisement of senior citizens living in Latimer Gardens and all those who have relied on that poll site for decades,” she wrote.
The Latimer Gardens polling place is expected to be restored in time for this year’s elections. According to Meng, it will be the polling place for approximately 2,000 voters and be housed in the complex’s gymnasium.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart