A bomb threat Sunday morning forced the New York City Board of Elections to evacuate a Madison Avenue early voting site used by Upper East Side residents, as the NYPD swept the building for any threats.
The BOE announced that emergency protocols were immediately initiated at the polling site, located at 1573 Madison Avenue, the Jackie Robinson Educational Complex at East 106th Street in East Harlem — which has been designated an early voting location for some Yorkville residents — after receiving notification of the bomb threat by the NYPD.
“This is what we are dealing with. A horrific attempt to stop people voting in a community of color,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.
“This was an outrageous attack on democracy,” Levine added.
Meanwhile, Upper East Side City Council Member Julie Menin described the threat as “shameful tactics to prevent people from exercising their right to vote.”
Poll workers and a handful of voters were escorted out of the voting location safety, according to the BOE, while officers with the NYPD’s elite Emergency Services Unit went to work searching the school building for an explosive device, before giving the ‘all clear’ some two hours later.
“When I heard there was a bomb threat called into the Jackie Robinson Education Complex today during voting hours, my heart sank,” longtime Upper East Sider and disability justice advocate Rebecca Lamorte told Upper East Site.
“I’ve voted there, I’ve helped with senior and disability early voting efforts there, and this is the kind of thing you think will never happen in your community — or democratic country — but it shows that even we aren’t immune from the violence and voter disenfranchisement this election cycle’s rhetoric has caused,” Lamorte explained.
New York State Assembly Member Edward Gibbs, who represents East Harlem, spoke to our news partners at FreedomNews.tv at the poll site, explaining that he had been informed by the police that the source of the bomb threat was a social media post from a student targeting one of the schools housed within the educational complex, however, the NYPD could not immediately confirm those details to Upper East Site.
“They didn’t give me the details of the language — it was just some student who was mad at a friend and said ‘hey, I got a pipe bomb in a classroom,” said Assembly Member Gibbs, who admitted voter suppression was his first instinct as well.
The BOE says voting has resumed at the Madison Avenue polling site and that it will be open until 5:00 pm, its scheduled closing time. Sunday is the last day for early voting in New York.