From Sunnyside Post:
It is time for our evolving democracy to embrace voting rights in local elections for all residents. We are all stakeholders in our community and should have a say in important local issues. In the words of the Revolutionary patriots who put their lives on the line for the freedoms we enjoy today, “No taxation without representation.”
Our democracy is becoming ever more inclusive, but we still have a long way to go. Over the years, we have recognized the right of African Americans, women, and others to vote. Even so, this progress has not yet extended to all residents. Tax paying residents who do not yet have citizenship cannot vote, even in local elections.
New York has always been a beacon for both immigrants and democracy. This is why we should lead the way in ensuring that our non-citizen community members can exercise the right to vote in local elections.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn...courtesy of Sheepshead Bites:
“For far too long, dozens of thousands of the Russian-American senior citizens of New York have been shut out of the voting process unfairly because of the language barrier,” pontificated State Sen. Carl Kruger when he introduced the legislation. Passed by the New York state Senate 48 to14 on May 28, the bill, known as S. 552 – An act to amend the election law in relation to providing Russian-language voting materials” passed the state Assembly with only 23 members dissenting out of 132 votes cast.
Russian was thereby added to the list of existing alternate languages in which election material must be printed, the others being Spanish, Chinese and Korean.
...we don’t really have a need for these translations. I don’t know who is going to be reading them, when all this can be heard on the radio in a form that is a lot more interesting and less officious.
Other than that, I have never had any problems at the voting polls. Respectful Russian–speaking volunteers showed and explained everything.
It appears that the motivation behind this bill was painfully transparent — it was a dishonest and disrespectful misjudging of the Russian community by the politicians.
“In my humble opinion, I just don’t understand real purpose of this bill,” immigrant Boris Borovoy states flatly. “The majority of politically active Russian-Americans are fluent in English and have no need for a Russian translation; to me it’s another pork barrel, another waste of taxpayers’ money for a mostly symbolic purpose.
And for hard-working, middle-class Russian-Americans it’s real slap in a face. “Want to make some important political decisions? Learn English, comrade. That’s as simple as it gets”.