NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Ten polling locations will be open when New Brunswick residents vote for three positions on the Board of Education on April 20.
Thomas Lynch, the administrator for the Middlesex County Board of Elections, has told TAPinto New Brunswick in an email that two locations have been added from the original eight that City Clerk Leslie Zeledon and the board identified last month.
Before COVID-19 health restrictions were enacted, New Brunswick typically utilized 14 polling sites.
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Lynch said the Middlesex County Board of Elections Commissioners has voted 4-0 to approve 10 polling locations.
“This is more than what was used in New Brunswick for 2020 during both the Primary and General Elections,” according to an email from Lynch. “Of the four locations used in past elections prior to 2020 but not in the April 20th School Election, there were varied reasons including: availability of private locations as polling locations due to covid concerns, inability to provide safe social distancing within some locations, and the detrimental interruption of public services at another location.”
The addition of two polling places comes after a letter signed by 14 organizations, including the League of Women Voters of the Greater New Brunswick Area, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice was sent to the Board of Elections on April 1.
In the letter, the organizations urged the Board of Elections to open all 14 polling sites because, among other reasons, “for many people, particularly voters of color, elderly voters and voters with disabilities, these types of closures place a significant burden on them accessing the ballot.”
The original reduction from 14 to eight polling locations was a topic of conversation at the March 17 City Council meeting, with some residents calling it an example of voter suppression.
Zeledon indicated at that meeting that the decision to reduce the sites was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In New Brunswick, where 99 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19 since March 2020, Diana Solis, who has served as board president the past two years, along with Jennifer Sevilla and Edward Spencer are running for re-election to the school board.
They are being challenged by Linda Stork, Jenifer Garcia Pelaez and Matthew Aaron Rivera, who are running under the Students first banner.
Voting will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on April 20.
The 10 sites that will be open April 20 include:
Lord Stirling School, Redmond Street (Ward 1, District 1; 1-2; 1-3; 2-1; 2-2)
Board of Education Gymnasium, Livingston Avenue (2-6; 4-3)
Lincoln School, Bartlett Street (5-3; 6-1; 6-2; 6-3; 6-4; 6-5; 6-6)
Woodrow Wilson School, Tunison Road (1-4; 1-5; 1-6)
Department of Public Works garage, Jersey Avenue (4-5; 5-2; 5-4)