N.Y. Gives Voter Help in Spanish, Not Yiddish

Attorney General Says Voting Rights Specifies Spanish Materials

By Seth Berkman

Published October 11, 2012.
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Spanish-speaking voters in Rockland and Ulster counties in New York will receive assistance at the polls this November to ensure an easy process for casting their ballots. Similar concessions, however, have not been made for the large Yiddish-speaking population of Hasidic Jews in the upstate counties.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that bilingual Spanish/English materials and interpreters will be available before and during election day on November 6.

Schneiderman was acting in accordance with Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act, which requires that “certain Spanish-speaking voters be provided bilingual ballots, bilingual election-related materials and language assistance at the polls.”

According to the 2010 Census, 5.5 million voters in the state do not speak English as a primary language. That number would include large communities of Hasidim who speak Yiddish as a primary language, along with Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union who speak Russian.

One of the largest Hasidic communities is in Orange County, which adjoins Rockland.

Last month, Schenectady County’s Board of Elections entered into a similar agreement. Friday is the last day to register to vote for the 2012 general election.


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