For Immediate Release: June 13, 2021
Media Contact: Daquetta Jones, Justice Center of Rensselaer County, firstname.lastname@example.org
After Troy residents rally against voter suppression, Rensselaer County Board of Elections added a previously unannounced polling site at the BOE office.
TROY, NY - Following Friday’s rally of Troy residents against voter suppression by the Rensselaer County Board of Elections, the Board told news outlets covering the rally that there would be an early voting site in downtown Troy.
The Board reportedly relayed, as evidenced by the coverage of multiple news outlets, that their office would act as a fourth, and previously unannounced, polling site in the county during the early voting period which started Saturday. The new site is at the Board’s own office and was suggested to them as a site by local advocates two and half years ago, but they rejected it. Whether or not this polling site meets the requirements under New York’s early voting law for creating equitable access is still unclear, but residents will now be able to vote at a downtown location thanks to the efforts of several resident groups over the last few years.
The BOE Commissioners told residents that the ballots at the new site will be counted as early voting ballots and the results will be delivered at the same time on election night, June 22nd, as the other early voting sites. Particularly because the Board has put in place a drop box for ballots at the new site, and not voting machines as they have at all the other sites, residents await the Attorney General’s review to confirm how these votes will be counted.
“Rensselaer County Board of Elections has once again failed voters,” said Daquetta Jones, Board Member of the Justice Center of Rensselaer County. “They had two and a half years to select a site in the heart of Troy—but they refused to. Although the BOE has finally made a decision to add a fourth early voting site as a result of residents demanding to be heard, it is a failure of their duty because their delayed decision—announced just one day before early voting—will have a negative impact on voter turnout.”
“In our understanding, the fourth site that was added is not providing the same access as the other three early voting sites, due to the use of a drop box instead of voting machines, and the lack of advanced notice,” said Deacon Jerry Ford of the Troy Coalition of Black Leaders. “This is once again an example of not ensuring the same level of service for all residents—voting rights are equal rights, meaning everyone should have the same experience.”
“Considering these belated and insufficient actions by the BOE it is clear that voting accessibility for residents with disabilities is not a priority,” said Clifton Perez, Systems Advocate for the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, and Vice President of the National Council On Independent Living.