Brooklyn Boro

New, high-tech voting method to fund local projects comes to NYC

Participatory Budgeting on LinkNYC Kiosks

April 9, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Residents can now vote to fund community projects in their neighborhood using LinkNYC kiosks, like this one on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights. Photo by Mary Frost
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People who live in ten Brooklyn Community Council districts can now vote to fund community projects using LinkNYC kiosks.

As part of the Participatory Budgeting initiative, the 9-1/2-foot-tall sidewalk kiosks allow residents 14 and older to decide how to spend $1,000,000 or more of the public budget in their neighborhoods.

LinkNYC kiosks have been installed in roughly 10 Brooklyn neighborhoods, but voters can use the Links in any area to vote.

You can vote for as many as five of your favorite proposals. Projects — like improvements to schools, parks, libraries and other public spaces — have been brainstormed by community members.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

In Councilmember Stephen Levin’s District 33, for example (Greenpoint-Williamsburg-Brooklyn Heights), projects under consideration include improving the bathrooms at George Westinghouse High School, making permanent the bike path from Brooklyn Bridge Park to Columbia Street, buying new computers for the Dock Street School and/or P.S./I.S 157, planting roughly 60 trees in Bedford-Stuyvesant, installing security cameras and other ideas.

In Councilmember Robert Cornegy’s District 36 (Bedford Stuyvesant-northern Crown Heights), projects on the ballot include installing countdown clocks and security cameras at Fulton Plaza, upgrading Thompkins Children’s Park, buying science carts for P.S. 262, air conditioning for a Summer Meals Program for the homeless site and more.

Projects in Councilmember Brad Lander’s District 39 (Cobble Hill-Gowanus-Park Slope) include a senior fitness playground, SMART boards for P.S. 131, improving Harmony Playground, replacing the kindergarten sinks at P.S. 282 and more.

Other participating Brooklyn Councilmembers include Antonio Reynoso, Laurie Cumbo, Carlos Menchaca, Mathieu Eugene, Jumaane Williams, Mark Treyger and Kalman Yeger.

How It Works

This reporter tried out the voting process at a kiosk on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights. After tapping the “311” button, the screen displayed the Participatory Budgeting option. To find my district, I entered in my home address.

Make sure to push on the screen firmly — it took me a couple of tries to call up the virtual keyboard. Once I got that figured out, the rest was easy. The display listed the projects up for vote in my district, with a button under each one. After swearing I was a resident and providing a cell phone number for verification, I was allowed to vote.

Tip: It was easier to read the project descriptions when the screen was in the shade.

It’s not necessary to use the kiosks to participate, however. It’s just one more option from a list that includes voting over computer, by snail mail or walking in to numerous locations, such as P.S. 8, Greenpoint Playground or Brooklyn Borough Hall at a scheduled time.

You can review the projects and vote online at

Voting for Participatory Budgeting is open through Sunday, April 15.

More than 1,500 Link kiosks allow residents to vote in the Participatory Budget process, Samir Saini, commissioner of the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, said in a release.

LinkNYC is the communications network replacing the city’s payphones with free phone calls, public Wi-Fi and services such as maps. Thousands more Links are set to be deployed over the next few years.

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