October 22, 2013 | 1167 views
No voting at West School
Democratic elections commish: West Enders will have to use polling site at Lindell
West Elementary School, which reopened in September after major renovations following Hurricane Sandy, will not be used as a polling location on Nov. 5. Instead, West End residents will have to vote at the Lindell School, just over a mile away.
Nassau County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner William Biamonte said that because West Elementary was not available to voters in time for the Democratic primary on Sept. 10, the board had little time to prepare it for Election Day, and using it that day would create confusion among voters.
“The policy of the board is that we try to keep absolute consistency in the general election and primary to avoid confusion,” Biamonte said. “[West School] was closed during Sandy. When we do our annual planning, we asked the [school] district what was coming back and what wasn’t, and this one didn’t. The Democratic primary was held at Lindell. We try to minimize confusion for the voters; where they vote in the primary should be where they vote in the regular election. Our planning department, and the Republican planning department, said that it was too late to make the change.”
A spokesman for Republican Commissioner Louis Savinetti, however, said that Savinetti has been calling on Biamonte to approve the use of the West School for about a month.
“I think the only issue was that the school was out of commission during Sandy, and now it’s back in commission,” said John Ryan, counsel to Savinetti. “The community has asked to be able to vote in that place again. Only 4 percent of voters voted in the Democratic primary. I think [Biamonte] has other reasons he won’t articulate.”
The decision has also drawn criticism from Republican County Legislator Denise Ford, a West End resident who said that both commissioners must approve the building’s use. She urged Biamonte to make West School available to voters, and said that Schools Superintendent David Weiss sent a letter to Biamonte and Savinetti on Sept. 24 indicating that the school, which is usually the polling place for three of the city’s 24 voting districts, could be used.