Southern Brooklyn

Cymbrowitz Demands Resignation Of Election Official For Failing To Comply With Russian Translation Law


Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Senator David Storobin previously announced the passage of legislation that required all voting materials, including ballots, to be translated into Russian.

The legislation (A.10609/S.7812) stated that New York City and other municipalities with populations of more than a million must provide written Russian language assistance for voters. This would include ballots, signs, voter mailings, employee and volunteer training materials and information on the Board of Elections’ website.

In New York City, voting materials are already translated into five other languages.

However, the New York City Board of Elections has yet to translate any voting materials into Russian. Cymrowitz is speaking out against the inaction and calling for the immediate resignation or termination of the board’s general counsel, Steven Richman.

According to a release from Cymbrowitz’s office, Richman asked the Board of Elections to recommend that Governor Andrew Cuomo veto legislation requiring New York City and other large cities to print ballots and other voting materials in Russian.

Cymbrowitz fired off a strongly-worded letter to Board of Elections president Maria Guastella demanding that Richman be removed from his post.

“Mr. Richman’s action comes after years of inaction. The Board of Elections has refused to abide by a 2009 law, which I fought for, requiring that voting materials be translated into Russian. As the Board’s top legal official, he is responsible for his agency’s failure to abide by the law,” Cymbrowitz said. “Now, with the Legislature’s passage of stronger legislation I introduced, the Board of Elections would prefer to continue discouraging thousands of Russian-speaking New Yorkers from voting rather than developing procedures to comply with the 2009 law.”

In his letter to Guastella, Cymbrowitz writes:

Your non-compliance with the original law and your apparent distaste for the current bill, combined with the headline-making problems that occurred in recent elections, gives me serious doubt regarding your agency’s commitment to properly and expeditiously meet its mandates.

As General Counsel, Mr. Richman must have clearly understood the 2009 law and its intent, yet he, the Board of Elections’ chief legal authority, chose to ignore it.  This is both illegal and inexcusable and cause for requesting his immediate resignation, or if this does not occur, his termination.

Richman or Guastella have yet to respond to Cymbrowitz’s letter.

Comment policy


  1. Anyone that is a citizen should be able to read ENGLISH.  How can anyone pass a citizenship test, if they can’t read ENGLISH.  This is very offensive to people that were born here and to people who became citizens that learned to read Englsh.  I am very disappointed In Cymbrowitz, who seems to to sucking up to Storobin, who IMO, somehow stole the election from FIDDLER.  Shame on you Cybrowitz for not doing right for the hard working Americans, who are getting screwed by the system and allowing the RUSSIANS, AKA SOCIAL PARASITES TO BEAT THE SYSTEM AND SCREW us. 

  2. anyone that wants to force people to use english-only in america should first learn some native american languages

  3. Hey man I kind of agree with you….but why don’t you
    oppose against other foreign languages…not Russians but Russian Speaking crowd…

  4. Cymbrowitz loves Russians – anytime I have been to his office, he has all russian women working for him.  Now, there is nothing wrong with that, however when it comes to voting, I don’t feel that any particular nationality should be catered to.  This is America, and all voting should be done with only English materials. 

    All immigrants have to take their citizenship test in English, they have to learn American history.  There should be no catering to those who don’t speak English.  If you can’t speak the language, they should not be allowed citizenship or have the privilages of an american citizen at all.

  5. This current law was just passed on June 21st this year – less than a month ago.  It is going to take some time to comply (unless Assemblyman Cymbrowitz wants to help personally).
    Am I missing something? 

  6. yes, you are. Almost the same bill was passed in 2009. City did not comply -no money. Before election Cymbrowitz wanted something to show that he cares. This will cost about 6 milllion per election. Does city has money to comply?

  7. When my grandfather got off the boat from Sicily in the 1910’s, he spoke his native Italian tongue.  He always said that he was so honored to be in America that he learned how to speak English and became a proud Citizen.  He did not use his native language as an excuse and play dumb, only understanding and speaking it when he chose to too his advantage like all these people do today.  Back then, it meant something, today, it means absolutely nothing.


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