Some Rockland County voters will be going to new polling sites the next time they vote. The county’s Board of Elections commissioners formalized a decision that had been made in February and released a list of polling sites are being closed and consolidated either to improve school security or comply with ADA regulations on Thursday.
In Clarkstown, 12 locations are being closed and five new sites have been added. In Orangetown, five sites are being closed and two new locations will be used. Ramapo voters will see seven closures and six replacement sites. No changes are being made in Stony Point or Haverstraw.
The changes come as a result of the required assessment of poll sites every two years, which includes surveys and visits. During the past few months, Board of Elections employees visited poll sites to assess ADA compliance, accessibility, parking, and security issues and concerns.
Commissioner Louis Babcock said ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance is just part of what was evaluated at each location.
“We also take great care to ensure rooms are large enough to accommodate privacy booths, there is ample parking so that voters are able to easily enter and exit the polling sites, and sites are convenient in terms of proximity to voters,” he said. “Our assessment also includes the impact to the site itself, as we study the regularly scheduled activities and programs to minimize disruption.”
Many schools have hosted polls and that became a growing concern after the December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The local scrutiny included discussions with school district clerks and administrators.
“We are committed to ensuring our voters have unfettered access to the electoral process,” said Commissioner Kristen Stavisky. “We are equally dedicated to protecting the security of our schools and ensuring the safety of our children.”
In Clarkstown, 11 of the 12 sites previously named are being removed as polls for school security reasons. Seven are in the Clarkstown School District: the Bardonia, Little Tor, Link, Strawtown, West Nyack and Woodglen elementary schools and Birchwood School. Three are in the Nyack School District: the Liberty, Upper Nyack and Valley Cottage elementary schools. Also closed was the Hilltop Administration Building for space limitations and lack of parking and St. Paul School in Valley Cottage for security reasons.
The new Clarkstown polling locations are the Chestnut Grove School District Office, Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center, Risen King Alliance Church, Salvation Army Eastern Territory Headquarters and the Valley Cottage Library.
In Orangtown, the Evans Park and William O’Shaeffer elementary schools and Nyack Community Ambulance were closed for security reasons. Depew Manor is no longer a polling site because it did not comply with ADA and Orangetown Town Hall had space limitations and lack of parking. The two new Orangetown sites are the New York State Armory and Nyack Library.
Those voters impacted by the changes will receive three separate notifications: a personalized letter outlining the reasons behind the shifts, a revised voter identification card, and a mail check card. The letters will include a note directing the voter to check the mail for his or her revised voter identification card. Mail checks will be sent out at the beginning of August in advance of the September 10th primary and November 5 general election.