Bill S625-2013

Directs the Queens county board of elections to provide language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi

Directs the Queens county board of elections to provide language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S625

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to directing the Queens county board of elections to provide language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill directs the Queens county board of elections to provide written language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi, and Hindi in order to comply with the Language Assistance Provisions of Section 203 of the federal voting rights act of 1965 (42(U.S.C 1973aa-1a).

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The election law is amended by adding a new section 3-508 which directs the Queens county board of elections to provide written language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi, and Hindi. Since Asian-Indians in Queens County are newly covered under the Language Assistance Provisions of See. 203 of the Federal Voting Rights Act and the three most spoken languages among individuals of Asian-Indian origin are Bengali, Hindi and Punjabi, the Board of Elections should provide written material in those languages. This shall include but not be limited to ballots, signs, voter mailings, employee and volunteer training materiel and information on such board's website.

The board is also required to produce and distribute throughout the district a booklet that includes a voter registration form in English along with, in Bengali, Punjabi, and Hindi, instructions for registering to vote, instructions for obtaining an absentee ballot, and a section with general voter information including frequently asked questions The board may include other languages in the booklet and website as well.

This act shall take effect on the 120th day

Effective immediately, the addition, amendment or repeal of any rules or regulations for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such date.

JUSTIFICATION: Since Asian-Indians in Queens County are newly covered under the Language Assistance Provisions of Sec. 203 of the federal Voting Rights Act, this act will add the three most spoken Asian-Indian languages to the Queens County ballot.

The data for Queens County indicates Bengali (also known as Bangla), Punjabi and Hindi speakers, in that order, as the prevalence of those with limited English proficiency (LEP) in Queens County.(1)

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This bill was previously introduced.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal to state.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the 120th day. Effective immediately, the addition amendment or repeal of any rules or regulations for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such date.

FOOTNOTE: (1) American Community Survey, Public Use Microdate Sample 2005-2009


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 625 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to directing the Queens county board of elections to provide language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The election law is amended by adding a new section 3-508 to read as follows: S 3-508. QUEENS COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS; VOTING MATERIALS IN BENGA- LI, PUNJABI AND HINDI. THE QUEENS COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL PROVIDE WRITTEN LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE IN THE BENGALI, PUNJABI AND HINDI LANGUAGES PURSUANT TO SECTION TWO HUNDRED THREE OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF NINETEEN HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE (42 U.S.C. 1973AA-1A). SUCH LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, BALLOTS, SIGNS, VOTER MAILINGS, EMPLOYEE AND VOLUNTEER TRAINING MATERIALS AND INFORMATION ON SUCH BOARD'S WEBSITE. IT SHALL ALSO PRODUCE AND DISSEMINATE COUNTYWIDE A BOOKLET THAT INCLUDES: (A) A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM IN ENGLISH WITH INSTRUCTIONS IN BENGALI, PUNJABI AND HINDI; (B) INSTRUCTIONS IN BENGALI, PUNJABI AND HINDI REGARDING THE CRITERIA AND APPLICATION PROCESS FOR OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT; AND (C) A SECTION WITH GENERAL VOTER INFORMATION IN BENGALI, PUNJABI AND HINDI INCLUDING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. SUCH BOARD MAY INCLUDE OTHER LANGUAGES ON ITS WEBSITE AND IN SUCH BOOKLET. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amend- ment and/or repeal of any rules or regulations necessary for the imple- mentation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such date.

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