Says he's doing it to help voters
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Simcha Felder isn’t even on the ballot on Primary Day, but he’s going to keep his district office open for 12 hours that day.
He won't be anxiously watching election returns. He's doing it, he said, to assist voters confused by polling place changes, district lines and by the re-introduction the old-fashioned lever voting machines that will be used.
Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Flatbush) announced this week his office will remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Primary Day, Tuesday, Sept. 10 to help constituents who might be confused about their polling site locations or which candidates are running for a particular seat or office.
The office is located at 1412 Avenue J, Suite 2E.
“Redistricting has led to polling site changes for many people who may not even be aware of the new locations,” Felder said. “I want to ensure that anyone who wants to go out and vote has the correct information they need to cast a vote,” he said.
“Historically, there has always been a low turnout for primary elections,” Felder said. “I don’t want people to be discouraged from voting over something as simple as not knowing where to go. That’s something that can be easily addressed by contacting my office,” he said.
Felder said he also wanted to remind voters that the old lever-voting machines will be in use for the primary and in the run-off election, if a runoff is necessary. Felder, who co-sponsored legislation to bring back the lever machines for the primary and run-off dates, cited numerous issues with the optical scanners that are currently used in elections. Among the problems he cited: jammed and broken scanners.
But the scanners aren’t the only problem, according to Felder. The paper ballots that voters have to feed into the scanners are poorly designed, eh said, adding that many voters have complained that the print is too small and hard to read. The new voting system, in which voters fill out paper ballots while standing at desks, lacks privacy, he said.
The electronic scanners will be back in use for the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Felder is also keeping his office open on Election Day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Primary Day won't be the first time Felder has taken matters into his own hands when it comes to voting procedures. Felder was highly critical of the New York City Board of Elections when the board mailed out information booklets to voters about the upcoming primary. He predicted that voters would have a tough time figuring out where they are supposed to go to vote because of the confusing layout of the booklet.
He urged his constituents who read the booklets and who are still having trouble discerning the locations of their polling places to call his office for information.
“The mail from the Board of Elections is poorly-designed, confusing, and looks like junk-mail. I suspect most prospective voters will end up tossing it in the garbage without realizing that it contains important content. It’s just ridiculous,” Felder said.
For more information, call Felder’s office at 718-253-2015 or email [email protected].