Governor Signs Addabbo Bill to Expand Available Polling Places for Disabled

Joseph P. Addabbo Jr

August 23, 2010

Mandates that Buildings Getting State Benefits Must be Used as Polling Places
that are ADA-Compliant
Queens, NY, August 20, 2010 – NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens),
Chair of the Senate’s Elections Committee, today announced that Governor Paterson
has signed legislation (S5029A) which would amend the election law in relation to
the use of certain buildings as polling places accessible to persons with
disabilities.  The new law expands the pool of available handicapped accessible
polling places by mandating that buildings that obtain tax abatements or exemptions
or other public benefits must be made available for use as polling places. 
Specifically, the law gives statewide applicability to the provisions of
section 4-104 of the Election Law, which requires that the owners or operators
of any building that obtains a tax abatement or exemption or a subsidy, grant
or loan for construction or renovation of the building or operation of a
program in the building, must make the building available for use as a
polling place if it is designated for that purpose.  Buildings used solely for
residential purposes that contain 25 dwelling units or less are exempt.
As a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and
state statutes, the legislature has established a goal of full polling
place accessibility. The prior amendments to the law partially achieved this
goal in our larger cities, where polling places of any kind were not readily
available, and where it was very difficult to comply with this goal without
relocating at least some polling places to locations which are inconvenient
for many of the voters. It has since became evident that the same pressing
needs exist in the suburbs of the six largest cities, and in smaller upstate
cities, as well. Over the years, the legislature has attempted to improve the
situation by mandating at first that public schools, and later, those public
buildings, must be made available for use as polling places. This bill should
substantially expand the pool of available polling places.

 “I am very pleased that this important legislation was signed into law” said
Senator Addabbo.  “Our goal with this legislation is to require that building
owners who get tax abatements, exemptions or other public benefits should make
their areas available for polling sites and accessible to those with a handicap.
The owners should have rooms available for voting and registration to those with
disabilities to ensure that they can exercise their right to vote.”
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