Public Comment

Suppressing the Vote in Berkeley

By Sheila Goldmacher
Friday May 16, 2014 - 12:25:00 PM

I am writing today because I am deeply disturbed at what I can only interpret as a way of suppressing my vote. I am an elder, 80 years of age, have voted in every election since I was eligible to vote.  

This year I just noticed that my polling place is more than 1 mile from my residence, 2341 Parker St. near Dana. I must vote at the ed roberts campus at the Ashby Bart station. I do not consider this an easy, accessible place for my body to get to and the fees to mail back the 3 cardboard pieces of the ballot are near $1.00. This is an outrageous change. All the years I have lived at this address I was able to easily walk to the polling place and did so to either vote in person or to drop off my ballot. 

I can only consider this an attempt to suppress votes. Many seniors will not get to the polling place who live in this neighborhood and a goodly portion will probably not return the mail ballots because of the cost. Many of us live on very low incomes.  

So right here in our very own state of California voter suppression is taking place. I am alerting you because I want you to look into this now and stop it while we can. When I called the County Registrar's office I was told that there are new regulations, the places need to be more accessible, they have trouble getting people to staff the polls and on and on. At no time did I hear a concern for the rights of all voters to have easy access to the polls. I suggested to the person I spoke with that it is the job of that office to make sure that all voters are considered and if they were having problems in meeting that goal, that they might publicize it to all of us and include us in planning for a better solution. 

I am planning to write to all the local and state papers to alert them to this problem. If it is going on in Berkeley, I can only assume it is happening throughout the state.