Interpretation services set to expand at Queens polling sites for midterm elections

TimesLedger Newspapers
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Interpretation services will be expanded on Election Day — Nov. 6 — at approximately 100 polling sites in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, according to the mayor’s office.

The purpose of the expansion is to help voters who speak Russian, Haitian Creole, Italian, Arabic, Polish or Yiddish.

In Queens alone, 14 polling sites will provide language services in Russian, Haitian Creole and Italian.

“The language you speak and understand should not be a barrier to civic participat­ion,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Voting should be an easy task, and we’re upholding that truth by identifying and filling gaps in communities where translation services are needed. Whether it’s Haitian Creole, Russian or Arabic, we’re making sure that you’ll be able to participate in our democracy no matter what language you speak.”

Elected officials throughout Queens are excited about the expansion.

“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and giving people the opportunity to participate in the language they are most comfortable with makes for a more informed and inclusive electorate,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights). “This project will help voters who need assistance in a language other than English and will help elections officials better serve our diverse communities.”

Currently, there are language services at poll sites in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Bengali by the Board of Elections, as required by the Voting Rights Act.

“Voting is one of the hallmarks of our democracy and increasing interpretation services will improve voting access for limited English proficient New Yorkers. All voters must have equal access to the polls so that they can make their voices heard. I applaud this critical initiative and I look forward to this project benefiting many New Yorkers on Election Day,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing).

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz agreed.

“In our global borough alone, over 1.3 million people speak a language other than English at home, and we view this as an asset and source of pride. To vote is a precious right, and in an international city like New York, language must not be an impediment to exercising that right. Government has a responsibility to make voting as painless and accessible as possible. This is a boon for democracy,” said Katz.

Interpreters will be available on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, November 5, 2018
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Reader feedback

Speakenglish from Queens says:
If you're a true American citizen then why dont you just learn to speak English?
Nov. 5, 2018, 6:31 am
Henry from Queens says:
Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing. In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority — that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous. But in part it must resort to force, i.e., to law. One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions.
Nov. 5, 2018, 7:42 am
Helton from Flushing says:
Another continuous waste of hundreds of millions of our tax dollars through the years. Naturalized citizens (like my wife) had to pass an English comprehension test in order to become a citizen. So even naturalized citizens can read English Only citizens can vote. So why do we need voting materials printed in a dozen languages, not to mention paying for interpreters at the voting sites?
Nov. 5, 2018, 9:01 am
yshaggy from jamaica says:
what a waste of taxpayer money
Nov. 5, 2018, 11:50 am
Jr from Bayside says:
How about better lightening, the damn new computer sheets are hard to read, but I’m an American born citizen, so my needs don’t count
Nov. 5, 2018, 4:15 pm
Celtic from Bayside says:
Liberals at their best. Doing what they do. Entire communities full of people refusing to be American in any way. We all know that if you can't vote in English you're likely an illegal.
Nov. 5, 2018, 11:03 pm
You're all idiots says:
Hey geniuses, illegals can't vote and you all act like the sky is falling. Do some god damn research before spreading falsehoods.
Nov. 6, 2018, 8:38 am

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