Rotterdam Town Board members voiced their frustration Thursday, April 3, with poll site consolidations proposed by the Schenectady County Board of Elections that would reduce the number of polling places from 16 to 15 in 2008 and from 15 to 12 in 2009.
County officials said the consolidation is necessitated by new voting machines, rising costs and the mandatory access afforded to disabled persons under the Help America Vote Act, HAVA, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The preliminary proposal for 2008 would consolidate Election Districts 13 and 14, currently held at Pinewood Elementary School on Kings Road with Districts 15 and 16 at St. Gabriel's School Gym on Hamburg Street.
This proposal moves entire neighborhoods of people, said Rotterdam Supervisor Steven Tommasone at the Town Board's April 3 agenda meeting. "It's more than is necessary."
Tommasone said he would be adding a resolution to the Town Board's upcoming agenda that would keep Rotterdam's current polling places intact.
There are currently 16 polling places for Rotterdam's 25 election districts.
A letter sent by the Board of Elections to the town board on Wednesday, March 19, also outlined proposed consolidations for 2009 that would eliminate three more polling sites in town.
The letter outlined the following proposal:
Rotterdam Election District 3, currently held at Schonowee Fire Department, would be consolidated with Districts 4 and 24 at the South Schenectady Fire Department
Rotterdam Election District 17, currently held at Mohonasen High School, will be consolidated with Districts 7 and 18 at the Curry Road Fire Station.
Rotterdam Election District 2, currently held at Rotterdam Junction Fire Department, would be consolidated with District 1 at Pattersonville Fire Department.
The Town Board disapproved of all three proposed consolidations.
"This deters everyone, disabled or not," said Tommasone. "The firehouses in Rotterdam Junction are on completely different ends of (Route) 5S. It brings up traffic and other concerns."