The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:
At a press conference in the heart of Brooklyn’s Russian-American community, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) and State Senator David Storobin (R-Brooklyn) today announced the passage of groundbreaking legislation they introduced that will require all voting materials, including ballots, to be translated into Russian.
Also celebrating the bill’s passage were leaders from the Russian-American community and elected officials including Assemblymembers Alec Brook-Krasny and Helene Weinstein and State Senator Diane J. Savino. The announcement was made outside Tatiana Restaurant on the Brighton Beach Boardwalk.
“This historic legislation marks the dawn of a new day for Russian-speaking New Yorkers who have been unfairly excluded from the democratic process due to a language barrier,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. “For the first time, Russian-speaking voters will be able to walk into the polling place on Election Day, look at a ballot, and say, ‘Now I belong.’”
Senator Storobin added, “This legislation is long overdue and will finally ensure that Russian-speaking Americans’ voting rights are protected here in Brooklyn and across New York State. I applaud my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate for taking this necessary action for our community.”
The legislation (A.10609/S.7812) requires New York City and other municipalities with populations of more than a million to provide written Russian language assistance for voters. This includes 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.
Besides the press release, Cymbrowitz posted the following statement on his Facebook page:
Today I held a news conference on the Boardwalk in Brighton Beach to announce the passage of historic legislation I introduced that will require the Board of Elections to translate ballots and other voting materials into Russian. Joining me was State Senator David Storobin, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, and several of my legislative colleagues. For the first time, our Russian-speaking neighbors will be able to participate fully in the democratic process without the burden of a language barrier. Equally important, we worked together to make it happen. Democrat, Republican, Russian-speaking, non-Russian speaking, we all embraced the spirit of inclusion that the measure represents. No matter what language you speak, everyone deserves a voice in our democracy. (From left: Assemblyman William Colton, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Senator Storobin, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, and State Senator Diane J. Savino.)