Monroe County was among 10 counties warned by the state attorney general to help Spanish-speaking voters. The Associated Press reports:
Letters by Civil Rights Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke to the counties’ election commissioners said the Voting Rights Act requires jurisdictions with significant numbers of Puerto Rican residents with limited English to ensure they can vote. Measures include making all voting materials and ballots available in Spanish and having Spanish-language interpreters available at polling places.
The law applies to citizens educated in American flag schools in Puerto Rico who are categorized as limited-English proficient.
The letters noted that counties without effective plans could face civil liability. Several had lacked Spanish translations on their websites. The counties are Erie, Monroe, Rockland, Dutchess, Ulster, Chautauqua, Schenectady, Sullivan, Montgomery and Putnam.
The Monroe County Board of Elections website lacks a Spanish translation. Elections Commissioner Peter Quinn said his office his meeting with the attorney general soon to find out more about the requirements.
Quinn said for more than 15 years the county has had interpreters stationed at polling sites where 5 percent of the population is Spanish-speaking. “We do already have a lot of things in place,” Quinn said.
The 2010 census showed more than 33,000 Monroe County residents speak Spanish at home. Nearly 11,000 of those residents have limited proficiency in English.
The attorney general’s advisement comes as New York is trying to make it easier for people to access the voting booth. The state announced a program to register to vote online. As some states fight over voter identification laws, it’s worth pointing out New York does not have this requirement and experts say voter fraud is rare.
Links of the Day:
– New York State reached a $25 million settlement with a Rochester nursing home it shut down in 1999.
– My colleague, Evan Dawson, is turning into a Free Range parent. He points out the insanity of the Bumbo Seat recall. “You can’t recall gravity.”
– Nike retailers are bracing for the debut of a $315 sneaker. Previous sales have led to riots.