Councilman Jumaane Williams, D-Ditmas Park, voiced concerns earlier this week about Tuesday's Election Day and the anticipated complications expected to plague voters 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," Williams said in a statement. "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," he continued.
He asked the Board of Elections to address "some key issues ahead of Tuesday's election," including how voters in shelters will be able to get to a ballot box. "The Board has worked ... 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," he said. "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."
Williams asked that the BOE "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."
He also proposed 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," he said. "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."