Campaign for an Accessible Polling Site

 

          

Our voting district’s population center is here at home, at Bard. Why must we travel 3 miles to vote?

Join the campaign! Sign our letter of support and drop it off in the collection box at the Campus Center InfoDesk >>>

This concern follows a history of voting accessibility issues for college-age voters in Dutchess County. In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Symm vs. United States that denying college students the presumption of bona fide residency was unconstitutional. Decades after that decision, college students in Dutchess County faced undue and unjustified barriers to voting. The egregious disenfranchisement tactics occurred consistently until the year 2004. During that time, young registered voters in Dutchess County were systematically barred from voting through the use of a “supplemental” questionnaire. The Board of Elections required this supplemental form exclusively from voters residing at college residences. The practice ended in 2004, after students and administrators from Bard, Vassar, and Marist, civil rights organizations, and a bi-partisan group of local elected officials united to put an end to this unjust practice. Since then, conditions improved but litigation was required in 2009 and in 2012 to ensure the equal treatment and enfranchisement of college-age voters.

In addition to the unnecessary distance, the polling site is located on an un-lit and high-speed county road that has no pedestrian sidewalks. The present polling site is irrefutably inaccessible by foot. A polling site on Bard’s campus would be immediately accessible by foot to 68% of all voters in this voting district. 

Furthermore, the current polling site is inaccessible by mass transit. However, a polling site at Bard College would be accessible by LOOP Bus. It is important to note that, in 2010, NYS Election Law was amended to give preference to sites accessible by mass transit; “each polling place designated, whenever practicable, shall be situated directly on a public transportation route.” (NY Elec L § 4-104 [6] [a])

 

The Voter Breakdown

How far are we from the polls?

From State Survey...

...to Election Day Reality

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