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Agency Takes Back Instructions to Residents in Brooklyn Housing Project to Stay Home on Primary Day

A polling station in Brooklyn, New York. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Hundreds of residents of the Marlboro Houses near Coney Island in Brooklyn received notices from the New York City Housing Authority telling them to remain home on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a routine lead inspection. That left residents scrambling for a way to comply with NYCHA’s directive and to vote in the New York state primary election, which runs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

But according to Jasmine Blake, a spokesperson for NYCHA, the agency scheduled inspections on primary day by mistake, and residents should go vote.

“We’re trying to inspect these apartments for lead paint as fast as possible. But we shouldn’t have scheduled appointments for Election Day,” Blake said. “We’re rescheduling inspections for the 650 apartments affected today who were not home, and we encourage everyone to get out and vote before the polls close at 9 p.m.”

A copy of the flyer — which was sent to approximately 650 apartments in the complex — was posted on Twitter by Robert Jones Jr. on Thursday after learning that his mother received the notice. Jones’ mother works from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and she likely would have missed the polling time cutoff if Jones had not offered to watch her apartment while she cast her ballot.

Jones said residents in his mother’s complex, who are largely people of color, improvised after receiving the notices, offering to watch one another’s apartments while they went out to vote. Still, the entire situation struck Jones as “a problem that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

Blake said the agency will not schedule inspections for November’s general election.

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