Updated: November 04, 2019 11:09 PM
Created: November 04, 2019 07:06 PM
As New York’s first early voting period wrapped up this week the debate over voter access to polling sites continues in Troy.
The Rensselaer County Board of Elections chose to put their two state mandated sites at the Brunswick Office Building and Schodack Town Hall, neither of which is easily accessible by public transportation.
A representative from Troy’s chapter of the Women League of Voters says 30% of residents in Rensselaer County do not own cars and 70% of those people live in Troy. Many residents and local leaders have said the placement of the early polling sites is discriminatory against minorities and all the people who live in Troy, the most populated municipality in the county.
NewsChannel 13 decided to experience first-hand what a resident of Troy would have to do to get to one of the early voting sites.
A trip from River Street in Troy to Brunswick Office Building takes a combination of a six-mile bus ride and an almost two-mile walk. The closest bus stop is at the Walmart Super Center and from there a person would be walking along Hoosick Street. There are parts of the road that do not have sidewalks. Round trip, it runs about two and a half hours to complete.
Getting to Schodack Town Hall runs similar in length with the NewsChannel 13 crew clocking it at 2 hours 38 minutes but it would have taken more than 4 hours had they missed a bus or two.
Commissioners for the Rensselaer County Board of Elections have maintained they did not discriminate in any way, saying people who live in remote parts of the county would face the same challenges. They say given time restrictions, limited budget and a lack of accessible locations, these two sites were the best fit.
CDTA says they worked with Schenectady County to extend routes to better serve the early voting public. When asked if Rensselaer County explored that option the commissioners said they did but were told it would cost the county. So they didn’t pursue it any further.
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