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Queens to add Indian language(s) to election material--but which?

Friday, October 14, 2011 - 02:37 PM

This came over the wire a few days ago. It looks like the population of people from the Indian subcontinent has past the five percent threshold in Queens, which, by Federal law, means the Board of Elections needs to provide that population with materials in their language.

Of course, there are (at least) 144 different dialects in India. The big four that are under consideration, according to conversations with the Census and Sarah Steiner, an election lawyer and former Queens Assistant DA, are:

  • Hindi
  • Urdu
  • Gujarati
  • Pashto
  • There's also a possibility of Bengali being included

The Department of Justice is actually responsible for working with local election officials to decide where, specifically, the languages need to be available, how election officials will make the languages available (interpreters, printed on ballots, etc.), as well as which languages will actually be used.

"The Department of Justice has not yet figured out what it's going to do," Steiner said.

Officials from the Census Bureau, as well as the New York City Board of Elections, were unavailable for comment at this time. When they get back to me, I'll post any updates.

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Comments [2]

Christina Berg

I agree, although elderly and certain new immigrants may benefit, only us citizens generally are allowed to vote anyways, the language requirement is silly, however you do not need to speak english to be a us citizen but that's not generally the case, it may be fore many hispanics who are native born and hardly learn english.

Pashto is not an indian language, why not add sindhi or tamil or telegu?

Oct. 28 2011 09:29 AM

One needs to rethink this requirement pretty soon there will be no room on the "New Ballots"

Once you become a citizen you should have enough understanding of English to be able to "read" who and what office you are voting for.

Before there was the "Oracle at Delphi" there was Count Vampire J. Machiavelli

VJ Machiavelli
Power to the People who "VOTE"

Oct. 15 2011 05:25 AM

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