Brooklyn Heights

Letters to the Editor October 12

Mail in Ballots, Montague Street Tunnel Anniversary

October 12, 2020

Dear Editor,

As a first-time eligible voter, I was excited to engage in my civic duty and vote in the 2020 election. Imagine my surprise upon opening my absentee ballot to find out that the wrong name and address on my ballot’s return envelope could get my first-ever presidential vote voided. I am just one of the 100,000 voters from Brooklyn and Queens to be affected by this egregious error. While I believe the return envelopes mix-up was not due to malicious intent or a larger plot to suppress the vote, the result is still the same: mass voter disenfranchisement. The error has done irreparable harm to the faith of constituents in the institutions that are supposed to make sure our voices are represented and heard. This feeling was further compounded by the ineptness and lack of transparency of the NY Board of Elections (BOE) in the ensuing days of the misprints and the inability to contact them.

Furthermore, the mix up serves to further alienate BIPOC voters who already have a more challenging time voting than their white counterparts. The only way to regain the faith of voters in elections in the future is to create an app or website where you can track your absentee or mail-in ballot status, and if it was rejected being told the reason why. In addition, the BOE should layout and publish a comprehensive plan on avoiding mishaps like this in the future.

– Devon Schwitzman (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)

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Dear Editor,

Happy 108th Anniversary for the MTA New York City Transit R line subway service via the Montague Street Tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The original construction of this tunnel by the old private Brooklyn Manhattan Rapid Transit (BMT) company under a franchise agreement with NYC at a cost slightly less than $10 million began on October 12, 1914. To build the same tunnel today would probably cost several billion dollars. Today 65,000 riders from Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and other Brooklyn neighborhoods benefit by a direct subway connection with their neighbors in Manhattan along Broadway in downtown and midtown Manhattan along with those from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills and many other communities along Broadway and Queens Blvd in Queens.

– Larry Penner (transportation advocate, historian, and writer, Brooklyn Heights)

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