Watertown lawmaker wants city to hire special bus for Primary Day

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 4:56 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - As Primary Day approaches, Watertown City Council Member Cliff Olney wants the city to hire a bus with wheelchair access to shuttle some voters to the polls.

This comes after polling locations were paused for 2023 at Midtown Towers and the South Massey Street Fire Station.

Olney wants to make voting easier for handicapped and elderly voters affected by the change.

“It’s important to try to make it more balanced and more fair. Whatever the outcome is gonna be, it’s gonna be. That’s why I felt this would be important,” he said.

At this point, there’s no cost estimate.

Council Member Lisa Ruggiero says she’d like to see the cost before moving forward.

Council Member Sarah Compo Pierce thinks a service like this is already available.

“I know part of it was making sure people who are handicapped are able to get to the polls. If that’s the case, they can make an appointment with (CitiBus) paratransit,” said Compo Pierce.

Mayor Jeff Smith Calls the resolution unnecessary and also points out there are existing services

“Those methods already exist whether it be paratransit service or asking for an absentee ballot. It’s not the best way to spend taxpayer dollars when there are already services available,” said Smith.

Council will discuss the resolution on June 5.

Primary Day is June 27.