- 11/04/2012 by Councilman Jumaane D. Willima (45th Council District)

BROOKLYN, NY, November 4, 2012: Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) released the following statement in response to voting concerns being raised by New Yorkers in advance of Tuesday's Election Day due to complications caused by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.

"I am deeply concerned about the ability of all New Yorkers, particularly those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday. Our communities, particularly the elderly and immigrant populations, have already been worried about being disenfranchised after the lack of organization during September's primary elections. Now we are facing extraordinary circumstances with the damage to many polling sites, the continued lack of power across parts of the five boroughs and the sheltering of thousands of residents, which for many are a significant distance from where evacuees live and vote.

"I have yet to hear the Board of Elections address some key issues ahead of Tuesday's election. Specifically, how do we plan to get voters in shelters to the ballot box?"

 The Board has worked today on informing evacuees and all New Yorkers about needed poll site changes, but many worry that they will be able to get to the polls at all. This issue is particularly pressing for those in our evacuation centers, but it also pertains to those that are suffering to the gas shortage or have other logistical issues that have arisen due to the storm.

"I am asking that the Board of Elections immediately institute a plan to establish a volunteer shuttle service to ferry New Yorkers from evacuation centers and hard-hit areas of the city to their poll sites. I am also proposing that the Board open polling locations at evacuation centers to address this unique situation. If we in government believe in the basic tenets of democracy, then I believe we must all hold this as a top priority. There are many among us with the means to assist on Tuesday; we simply need to organize and activate them so we can have as smooth an election as possible. "

The Board of Elections is responsible for ensuring that all barriers are removed from the ability to vote. I hope we will all work together to accomplish this goal on Tuesday, in the midst of our recovery from Hurricane Sandy."

headline photo