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Bloomingburg Settles Suit Claiming Discrimination Against Ultra-Orthodox Voters

An upstate New York village will appoint an election monitor after settling a lawsuit that accused its board of elections of attempting to cancel the voter registrations of some 160 Hasidic Jewish residents.

Ten residents of the Catskills village of Bloomingburg, New York, which has a total population of about 420, filed a lawsuit against the Sullivan County Board of Elections in March after the board requested proof of residency from the Hasidic voters.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan accused the elections board of “engaging in an unyielding discriminatory campaign to deprive Hasidic Jewish residents … of the fundamental right to vote,” the New York Post reported.

The board continues to deny discriminating against Hasidic Jewish residents, but settled to avoid the soaring costs of the lawsuit, the local Times Herald-Record reported.

The settlement requires the county to pay legal fees topping $55,000 and a total of $25,000 to the 10 residents who signed on to the lawsuit ($2,500 each). The monitor, which will oversee voting in the county for the next five years, is to be appointed jointly by both sides.

Also as part of the settlement, voting materials, as well as signs advising voters of their rights, will be posted in both Yiddish and English, according to the Post.

In 2014, a $25 million lawsuit still pending in Manhattan federal court was filed against Bloomingburg accusing the villaget of trying to block members of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community from relocating there by tying up approvals for a school and a townhouse project.

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