The borough’s South Asian community last week cautiously celebrated the news that the city Board of Elections will provide Bengali-language ballots for this year’s city elections. “By providing translated ballots and language assistance in Bengali, we are ensuring that all voters in Queens have the resources they need to fully exercise their right to vote in the upcoming elections,” said state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck), whose district stretching from Bellerose to Richmond Hill was redrawn after the 2010 census in a deliberate move to consolidate the electoral power of Queens’ fractured South Asian community. “This is one critical step towards improving voter access and increasing voter participation for all New Yorkers.”
The census also determined that Queens’ South Asian population — hailing from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — had grown large enough to trigger a provision of the Voting Rights Act requiring the BOE to translate ballots and provide language assistance for the minority community. Bengali, the most widely used language by South Asians in Queens, was chosen.
But since the U.S. Census Bureau made its determination in October 2011, four election cycles have come and gone without the translated ballots.
Full Article: South Asians await Bengali ballots • TimesLedger.