An open letter to the city Board of Elections:
I am writing to express my concern that the Board of Elections will not have Bengali-language ballots available for the general election Nov 6.
As you know, the U.S. Census Bureau has determined that the BOE is legally obligated to provide alternate ballots and interpreters for Bengali-speaking voters under the Federal Voting Rights Act. It is important that the Bengali-speaking community be provided with language assistance so they can effectively participate in our democratic process.
The fact that the city will not be able to comply with this federal mandate when other jurisdictions across the country have is unconscionable.
Queens is home to a growing population of South Asians, many of whom will now face unnecessary challenges at the voting booth because of the BOE’s inability to ensure this mandate is implemented in time for Election Day.
I urge you to develop a plan of action to ensure these language-assistance requirements are met in a timely fashion.
Immigration Committee Chairman