On Tuesday, 59-year-old Ditmars resident Wendy Rodriguez crossed the street with the help of a crossing guard outside of P.S. 2 on 21st Avenue. The two began chatting, and the guard asked Rodriguez, a school administrator, if she had received a letter earlier this year from the Board of Elections, explaining that the polling site at the school would be closed for November’s election. The crossing guard explained that voting would now be done about a mile away, at P.S. 84, on 41st Street near 23rd Avenue. “That’s ridiculous,” said Rodriguez, who lives in the neighborhood. “You know what’s going to happen? People aren’t going to vote.” Rodriguez’s situation has become a familiar one. With redistricting after the 2010 census, concerns have risen across the city that new districts formed earlier this year would cause mass confusion on Election Day in November.
But P.S. 2 faces a somewhat different problem. After being used as a polling site for decades, the Board of Elections disqualified it earlier this year it because it doesn’t comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, local elected officials said. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the school is actually equipped with a wheelchair-accessible ramp, though it’s located at a rear entrance to the school within a fence that is locked during off hours.
And now those who should benefit most from the school’s ADA compliance will be the ones who are most inconvenienced, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas said.