New York, NY—October 9 is the last day that New Yorkers can register to vote. That’s why Community Board 8 partnered with the Isaacs Center earlier today to distribute information to passerby about their voting options during the pandemic, as well as forms to fill out for the 2020 Census.

The Isaacs Center is a non-profit on the Upper East Side that provides many services to a variety of New Yorkers, including youth, low-income families and the elderly. In addition, it provides innovative programs to help New Yorkers become economically independent and socially sound. 

It spearheaded today's event in part by providing a tent outside their offices at 415 E 93rd Street so that volunteers from the community board could help residents from the nearby New York City Housing Authority complexes fill out the necessary voter registration and 2020 Census forms.

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Gregory Morris is the President & Executive Director of the Isaacs Center, and he is also a Community Board 8 member. In an interview he said it's important to ensure as many Upper East Side residents are registered to vote. 

“I mean it’s critical. In this particular moment, we’re thinking about how our families are being supported, how our seniors are being supported and there’s nothing more important right now that they can do but to vote,” said Morris. 

“Voting is essential, and the reality is because of the complications of this moment, related to COVID-19, related to people’s lives, we need to think about every option to make that possible, and that’s what we are trying to do right now.” 

Tricia Shimamura, a CB 8 Board Member who is running for a City Council seat next year, said she volunteered her time because she wanted to ensure that the community is informed.

“It’s even harder [this year] because we’re in a pandemic, so a lot of people may not know what the process is for mail-in voting, they may not know what early voting is or that their only early voting site is probably different from the one they normally go to November 3,” said Shimamura.

And she also wanted to guarantee that everyone in the district is counted in the 2020 Census because the results inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“With the extension of the census [to October 31], it’s a great opportunity to make sure that our neighborhood is counted,” began Shimamura.

“We know that we have been seeing lower response rates across the board, so while we have the opportunity to meet our neighbors safely and socially distanced, we’re also reminding them to fill out that census, take the two minutes, answer the questions and make sure that they are properly represented in our community.”

After about an hour into volunteering, the effort was paying off because Shimamura and her colleagues were able to register for voting a few nearby residents and a few others filled out the 2020 Census.

Alida Camp, CB8's Chair, took some time form interacting with residents to talk about the partnership with the Isaacs Center. 

“CB8 would like to assure the Holmes and Isaacs residents that we will support them, work to improve the quality-of-life and help residents access necessary democratic institutions. The Census is essential. Everyone, every resident, must be counted. Voting speaks for itself, as the core of a democracy,” said Camp.

“The Isaacs Center is a valued resource for the residents of Isaacs and Holmes and the surrounding community. We eagerly seek opportunities to partner with it, and the exceptional directors and staff.”

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