Low turnout at Manayunk and Roxborough polls – is voter apathy or construction to blame?

Philadelphia voters in Manayunk and Roxborough had a difficult time getting to the polls on Tuesday morning as construction and venue changes may have affected voter turnout.

Karen Tomosky, who was working the polls at 4120 Tower St. in Manayunk, said that construction in her section of the city was hindering turnout. As of 10:30 this morning, only 14 voters had shown up to cast their ballots.

“Two people getting here almost fell in a hole,” she said. “So they’re like taking their life in their hands coming here, because of all the construction.”

Manayunk wasn’t the only section of the city struggling with getting voters out to the polls. As of 11 this morning, only 32 out of 644 voters had voted at one Roxborough polling place.

As of noon, 42 people had voted at Northern Home on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough.

“I think it’s because the polling places have changed in many instances, and the notification is poor–extremely poor,” said Naomi Paskin-Parsons, an election worker in Roxborough. “Some places have signs, some places do not have signs…and even if there are signs, they don’t necessarily stand out well.”

Roxborough election officials said the changes were due in large part to accommodate handicapped voters under the Americans with Disability Acts regulations, but were only announced two weeks ago without much publicity.

In addition, ongoing construction on Ridge Avenue was preventing other voters from making it to the polls. All parking meters on Ridge Avenue between Leverington Avenue and Green Lane are blocked off due to the street revitalization construction, meaning any handicapped voters who would need to park nearby could have issues getting to the booths.

Josh Verlin is a student at Temple University.  Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab. Janis Chakars contributed to this report. 

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