By Jonathan Sperling
More than a dozen polling locations throughout Queens will receive additional interpretation services on Election Day as part of a citywide effort to make voting easier for non-English speaking voters.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Brooklyn Councilmember Mark Treyger announced on Monday that the Board of Elections would be filling gaps in interpretation services by providing interpretation in six new languages: Russian, Haitian Creole, Italian, Arabic, Polish and Yiddish.
“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, and Queens lauds the Mayor and City Council for this necessary expansion of interpretation services at poll sites across the City of New York,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in a statement.
Previously, polling sites offered interpretation services in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Bangla, as required by the Voting Rights Act. However, thanks to Census data, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs was able to determine the interpretation needs of election districts citywide.
Personnel from Langlo Inc., a city-certified M/WBE language services vendor will be on hand at the following Queens polling sites in order to offer interpretation services in Russian, Haitian Creole or Italian:
JHS 157-Stephen A Halsey (Russian)
PS 175-Lynn Gross Discovery School (Russian)
PS 206-Horace Harding School (Russian)
PS 139-Rego Park (Russian)
PS 220-Edward Mandel (Russian)
PS 99-Kew Gardens (Russian)
Evelyn & Lou Grn Res (Russian)
PS 154 (Russian)
PS 165-Edith K. Bergtraum (Russian)
PS 117-J.Keld / Briarwood School (Russian)
JHS 217-Robert A. Van Wyck (Russian)
Forest Hills High School (Russian)
PS 34-John Harvard (Haitian Creole)
PS 207-Rockwood Park (Italian)
Interpreters will be available from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Election Day. In the days leading up to Nov 6, MOIA staff will educate communities about these services.