September 20, 2016
Voter registration forms expanded to include Albanian, Greek, Italian, Polish, Tagalog, Yiddish
NEW YORK––As part of the Administration’s efforts to expand voting participation and access, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the launch of voter registration forms in six new languages: Albanian, Greek, Italian, Polish, Tagalog, and Yiddish. Now over 90 percent of Limited English Proficient New Yorkers have access to voter registration forms in the language they speak at home.
“New York is a city of immigrants. Now this November, the diverse communities that make New York City great will be empowered to make their voices heard,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This announcement marks our ongoing commitment to ensure that every eligible New Yorker can go to the polls and participate in a hallmark of American democracy.”
The new forms will be available on the Campaign Finance Board website (www.nyccfb.info), which is also found on the homepage of NYC.gov under “Register to Vote.” Starting this month, the Campaign Finance Board will provide these voter registration forms to public libraries and elected officials’ offices so they are easily accessible.
The new forms will be available on the Campaign Finance Board website, which can also be found on NYC.gov under “Register to Vote.” Starting this month, the Campaign Finance Board will provide these voter registration forms to public libraries and elected officials’ offices so they are easily accessible.
“Over 200 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most diverse city in America,” said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Now when New Yorkers register to vote this fall, they will be able to register in the language that they speak. This is an effective way to cultivate civic participation.”
Amy Loprest, Executive Director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board said, “New Yorkers will be making a critical decision about the future on November 8, but they won’t have a say if they aren’t registered to vote! Making voter registration forms available in more languages is a declaration that in New York City, the greatest, most diverse city on the planet, democracy is open to all U.S. citizens.”
Starting in July 2016, voter registration forms were available in Russian, Urdu, Haitian Creole, French, and Arabic alongside voter registration forms already available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Bangla. To find these forms, visit www.nyccfb.info.
The City is also providing support to immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens through its NYCitizenship program, which Mayor de Blasio launched earlier this year. As part of NYCitizenship, New York City residents receive appointments with a trusted attorney for help with citizenship applications, information sessions about the citizenship process and its benefits, and free and confidential financial counseling. U.S. citizenship gives residents the right to travel with a U.S. passport, vote in elections, and access more job opportunities. To learn more, visit www.nyc.gov/citizenship.
“We have a moral obligation to ensure every single New Yorker who’s eligible to vote gets the opportunity to do so, and that starts with accessibility,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m proud that New York City now offers voter registration forms in sixteen languages, covering more than 90 percent of our Limited English Proficient population.”
“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for prioritizing improved access to, and participation in, the democratic process by increasing the number of languages available on voter registration forms in New York City. Our residents make up the most diverse city in our nation, and this is especially true in Brooklyn where 47 percent of households in Brooklyn speak a language other than English at home. Improved participation in our electoral process is integral if we are to realize an inclusive city for all,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.
"I applaud Mayor de Blasio for this initiative, which will help make sure all eligible New Yorkers can fully participate in our democracy and exercise their most sacred right as Americans come this November," said Assembly Member N. Nick Perry, Chairman of the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
“The ability to influence government through voting is a basic principle our great country was founded upon. Many immigrants who come to New York arrive from countries that deprive them of their right to vote by setting up barriers and obstacles. Luckily here in New York we try to make the voting process as easy as possible. With the addition of new voter registration forms in six different languages we have truly improved the voting process. The new languages will do wonders in my district, as many of these languages are spoken throughout North Brooklyn. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for making the voting process more inclusive,” said Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol.
“New York’s greatest strength is its diversity and when we give more New Yorkers a say in their civic future we make for a more engaged, better represented, and inclusive New York,” said Assembly Member David Weprin. “As the Assembly member who represents one of the most diverse districts in the city, I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agrawal for now offering voter registration forms in six new languages, for a total of sixteen languages in all.”
“The language barrier has worked against New Yorkers for far too long. I am proud that New York City has taken steps to making the power of democracy all inclusive. We need to continue this proactive approach encouraging all to participate in the electoral process,” said Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj.
"This represents another important milestone in our City's initiatives to increase voter access and enable greater civic participation. Having grown up among many immigrant communities, I know the detrimental effect institutional and linguistic barriers can have on new citizens striving for the American Dream. I congratulate Mayor de Blasio on successfully expanding language services to these six communities, which now ensures that 9 out of every 10 New Yorkers who might struggle with English can still exercise their constitutional right to vote," said Assembly Member Ron Kim.
"Language must not be a barrier for eligible voters in New York City. Eliminating this barrier will accelerate civic engagement in the immigrant communities that contribute so much to New York's culture and economy. I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for understanding this and providing voter registration forms in even more languages," said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration.
“Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for expanding voting rights in New York City. As a Council Member representing a significant Albanian constituency in my district, the addition of forms written in Albanian and five other new languages will be a phenomenal improvement,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“Our democracy is stronger when everyone participates. At a time when there are those trying to divide communities, the Administration’s commitment to inclusion is more welcome than ever,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.
"I am proud that we are expanding voting access to even more New Yorkers. As a city with hundreds of languages spoken throughout our city every day, we are working to make voter registration forms inclusive for all. Many of these additional languages, especially Greek, are languages that I hear spoken every day in Astoria. I thank the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Campaign Finance Board for taking the lead with this initiative," said Council Member Costa Constantinides.
“I applaud the efforts of the Mayor’s Office to give greater access to the voting process for people with limited English by translating the Voter Registrations forms into 6 new languages. This will allow people the opportunity to read material in their own language and enable them to have a better understanding of the voting process, thereby increasing voter participation,” said Council Member Alan Maisel.
Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director, Make the Road New York said, "It's absolutely critical to our democracy that all voters, regardless of what language they speak, have the information they need to register to vote and cast their ballot. Immigrants across this city welcome this effort to increase voter access for all."
"We commend Mayor de Blasio, the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the NYC Campaign Finance Board for their efforts to expand voter registration. In addition to the top ten languages spoken in NYC, we are excited to have voter registration forms available in six additional languages," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "This effort showcases the Mayor's continued efforts to be inclusive of as many immigrant communities as possible and help them to become civically engaged. Now our immigrant community members from the Philippines, Albania, Italy, Greece, Poland, and Eastern Europe will be able to register in their native language."
"This is a great accomplishment, the great effort and hard work of Mayor de Blasio and his Administration will be very helpful to all, and it will give everyone an opportunity to be part of the democratic process. We are grateful and thankful to the Honorable Mayor for including our fast growing Jewish community with a large Yiddish speaking population in NYC. It will be a great help to expand voter registration. This is another step in the right direction to make this city even better, where all voices will be heard,” said Rabbi Moishe Indig, Jewish Community Council of Williamsburg.
“As the second largest Yiddish-speaking community in the city, we applaud Mayor de Blasio for making available voter registration forms in Yiddish, the sixth-most common language in our great city. In line with the Mayor’s quest for equality, this will enfranchise and give a voice to many more voters to be heard and be counted, which is the core of democracy,” said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn.
"UniPro is excited to hear that the City’s Language Access Initiatives have expanded voter registration forms to include Tagalog. As one of the fastest growing API groups in NYC today, now is the time to activate the power of the Pilipino American electorate. This November, Pilipino community organizations and political clubs across the city are coming together to make sure our voices are heard, that we elect leaders who will listen to our issues and recognize our needs, and that we continue to keep those legislators accountable to their promises. MOIA's new forms in Tagalog are effectively breaking the language access barriers that have so often disenfranchised our community. We're proud that the Mayor's Office has taken the important step to include our voices in the democratic process. UniPro will make sure our voices are heard,” said Stephanie Chrispin, President of Pilipino America Unity for Progress (UniPro).
“I think the inclusion of Polish is great for our community, especially the older population, so that they can fully participate in the election process,” said Bozena Kaminski, President of Polish and Slavic Center.