The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
August 25, 2017
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Astoria Polling Place Re-Opens After Five Years
Improves Voting Access Across Northern Astoria
Astoria, N.Y. – Council Member Costa Constantinides and NYC Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan today announced the re-opening of P.S. 2 as a polling place in time for the 2017 primary/general election cycle. They were joined by the United Community Civic Association Vice President Carol Scarano, Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris, community members and voters.
P.S. 2 had been open for voters in the surrounding neighborhood but was closed as a polling place in 2012 due to lack of ADA accessibility. Voters were reassigned to polling places further away from their homes including at P.S. 84 and P.S. 85, causing travel and crowding issues for voters across Northern Astoria.
After hearing many concerns from community members about the closure of the P.S. 2 polling place, Councilman Constantinides allocated $500,000 to the School Construction Authority to install a ramp at the school. This upgrade will make P.S. 2 accessible to voters with wheelchairs or walkers. Due to the Councilman’s capital funding and his and the community’s advocacy with the help of Congressman Joe Crowley, the Board of Elections re-opened the site as a polling place this month. This re-opening will improve access to voting throughout Northern Astoria.
Constantinides said, “Enfranchisement is one of our country’s most sacred rights. We must ensure that all eligible voters have an accessible, safe, and convenient place to cast their ballot. After years of Northern Astoria voters being moved around and reassigned polling places, I’m proud that we can re-open P.S. 2 for voters who live nearby. Voters at P.S. 2, as well as other polling places, will now have shorter distances to travel in order to vote and will enjoy less crowded sites. I appreciate Congressman Crowley for hearing our community’s concerns on this issue. Thank you to the School Construction Authority for their partnership on this capital project and to the Board of Elections for helping us re-open this site.”
NYC Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan said, “We thank Councilman Constantinides for bringing to our attention the needs of his constituents in his district. We are proud that we were able to work with the Councilman and the Department of Education to re-open PS 2 as a poll site for voters.”
Voters in Election Districts 46/36, 47/36, 48/36, and 83/36 will now vote at P.S. 2. Voters can visit nyc.pollsitelocator.com to find their polling place.
Local elected officials also hailed this improvement in voting access.
Congressman Joe Crowley said, “The opening of a polling place is universally good news. Thanks to Councilman Constantinides, a polling place has been restored and a community has been given greater access. This is a win for voting rights and for disability services. This is the kind of work I am proud to see happening here at home as we fight around the country to expand voting rights.”
State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said, “There is nothing more central to our democracy than the right to vote and having nearby voting places is critically important if we want people to exercise that right. I applaud Councilmember Constantinides for being a champion for Astoria’s voters. As we hear of other states adopting discriminatory laws and devious voter rules that essentially steal people’s right to vote, we can be proud of that our community is taking action protecting this precious right.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.