Several Manhattan Voters Sent to Wrong Polling Sites

By DNAinfo Staff on September 14, 2010 5:02pm

Sol Szmulewicz shows off the two postcards he received from the City's Board of Elections, directing him to two different polling sites.
Sol Szmulewicz shows off the two postcards he received from the City's Board of Elections, directing him to two different polling sites.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

By Ben Fractenberg and Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Staff

MIDTOWN EAST — Multiple voters were directed to the wrong polling site to cast their primary ballots in Manhattan Tuesday.

Husband and wife Sol and Laureen Szmulewicz, who live on the Upper West Side, received a postcard from the City's Board of Elections instructing them to vote at Central Synagogue at East 55th Street and Lexington Ave.

But when they arrived, the senior citizens were told they weren't on the list.

"Someone doesn't have their act together," Laureen said after the mix-up.

The two were eventually given a referral to another polling location, closer to their home on the Upper West Side.

Renee Catalo, 27, who lives on Fifth Avenue just below Central Park, said she'd first received a notice directing her to a high school on West 58th Street. She then received a second notice directing her to the Coliseum Park Apartments at 345 W. 58th St.

She decided to try the school first, but when she got there, it was closed, so she was sent to the Unity Church across the road. There, she was sent to her third location, the synagogue, where she was finally able to cast her vote.

"This is going to be disastrous for turnout," she said after the adventure. "People have to work. They're not going to track it down all day."

Loretta Azzarone, a senior who lives in Midtown, said she also received a postcard in the mail directing her to one polling location, where she had voted before. But then she received a second, directing her to the synagogue in Midtown East.

"They did not do a good job changing the addresses," she said.

She eventually voted successfully at the synagogue.

Another older couple who live at West 59th Street and Central Park West  said they received three different postcards directing them to three different locations to vote.

"When we called the Board of Elections, they didn't know where it [the correct polling place] was," the woman said.

While they eventually figured out where to go after numerous calls, the couple said they fear other residents will be deterred.

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