More Interpretation Services at Poll Sites But Still From Afar

(Photo by Liena Zagare via Bklyner)

Come Election Day, voters who speak Arabic, Haitian Creole, Italian, Polish, Russian or Yiddish will have interpretation services available at 100 polling sites, the city announced. Like last year, those interpreters can only assist from a distance – while they can accompany voters inside the site, interpretation must be provided more than 100 feet away from the entrance, reports Kadia Goba for Bklyner. Within that distance, electioneering is banned.

“The Board of Elections’ plan to keep translators more than 100 feet away again this year only disenfranchises voters who genuinely need language assistance,” said Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz.

Last year, the city implemented a pilot program which provided 20 polling sites in Brooklyn with Russian and Haitian Creole translators. Some lawmakers criticized the efforts because voters had to meet translators outside of polling sites during rainy weather.

“The translators are non-partisan and therefore do not engage in electioneering,” added Cymbrowitz. “It is unreasonable to expect seniors and other people who need translation services to walk back outside more than 100 feet away to find it.”

The city’s language assistance program is in addition to what the BOE is required to provide under the Voting Rights Act. Currently, the BOE provides translation services for Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Bengali.

“The language issue goes beyond the polling site,” writes Goba. Find out how at Bklyner.

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  1. Pingback: – Brannan Supports Arabic Interpretation Services at Poll Sites

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