Some elderly and disabled voters are not happy with the changes of polling places. Eyewitness News reporter Rachel Polansky speaks with disabled voters who say this election has inconvenienced and discouraged them.
It was a sad sight to see. After the Board of Elections changed nearly 30 polling places, some elderly and disabled people say they couldn’t physically make it to the polls. For those who could, they were faced with handicap accessibilty issues to even enter some of the polling sites.
“I think it’s disgraceful to be honest with you. Today I mean this is November 2012 and it just doesn’t add up,” says Elizabeth Mody, disabled voter.
Elizabeth Mody is one of many disabled voters who had her polling site changed.
“I can’t understand why they did this,” says Mody.
“So unnecessary to change us. There are people who dont have rides to get down here, I think they were trying to discourage people from coming out to vote,” says Barbara Fite, disabled voter.
Many disabled voters cannot walk far distances and some don’t have cars, but one Utica man has taken things into his own hands.
“Giving rides to people to get to the polls. A lot of people had their polling places moved or are unable to get there. So I’m out right now picking up people I have to get and bring them to the polls at certain times, just trying to help out so people can get out to vote,” says Mark Mazzo, community member driving disabled voters to the polls.
And some disabled are not happy with handicap accessibility. At the Italian Heritage Club polling place, there’s no wheel chair ramp or even a door handle.
“We didn’t know it was handicap, we went up the staircase, and then we were were fortunate to find out that we could come out this door which was a little bit better. But with no signs around, it’s defeating,” says Ed Fite, disabled voter.
“Should be a ramp for one thing I would think and just a sign on the door with no handle or anything.. I don’t think anyone who helped in the planning was disabled or elderly I doubt it,” says Mody.
Now Eyewitness News reached out to the Italian Heritage Club about the handicap accessibility issues, but they said they were unavailable for comment. As for the change of polling sites, the Board of Elections says they were asked to reduce the number of polling locations to cut costs.