Tag Archives: BOE

Board of Elections certifies Ulrich victory


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

Nearly a month after voters cast their ballots, City Councilmember Eric Ulrich has been certified by the Board of Elections (BOE) as the official victor in the race for District 32.

The Republican beat his opponent, District Leader Lew Simon, with 10,488 votes compared to Simon’s 9,080, a difference of 1,408 votes, according to the BOE certification report.

Immediately following the general election on November 5, both candidates declared victory.

However, as more votes rolled in, Ulrich was unofficially named the winner by the BOE and various media outlets.

But Simon did not concede and instead wished to wait until all absentee ballots were counted.

Since Election night, however, Ulrich and his camp believed the number of absentee ballots would not outnumber the difference in votes, and the incumbent’s return to office was ensured.

Simon said despite the outcome, he is “very proud of the race that I ran.”

“I’m still a Democratic leader. I’m very proud to always be there to help the people,” he said.

The close race was reminiscent of the 2009 City Council District 32 Special Election in which Ulrich and Simon faced off against each other. At that time, Simon held on but the councilmember came out on top.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Councilmember wants poll site switch for Tudor Village voters


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

With the general election approaching, one candidate wants any and every voter at the polls.

The Board of Elections (BOE) rezoned Tudor Village voters two years ago from P.S. 63 in Ozone Park to P.S. 232 in Lindenwood. Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who is running for re-election, is requesting the BOE switch it back.

“The Board of Elections should be making it easier, not harder, for people to vote,” Ulrich said.

In order to get to P.S. 232, Tudor Village residents would have to cross the Belt Parkway. Ulrich said this task is “nearly impossible” without a car.

Ulrich said that since the change was made, voter turnout from the area has decreased and “residents remain concerned about their ability to make it to the polls in the future.”

Ulrich is running against Democrat Lew Simon in the November general election and wants the BOE to re-designate P.S. 63 as the Tudor Village voting site “as soon as possible” so residents can vote “without impediment in the upcoming election.”

“Tudor Village residents should be able to vote in their own neighborhood,” he said. “I hope the Board of Elections comes to their senses and reverses this decision before November.”

The BOE said as a result of a decision made by both Queens Commissioners, they have agreed to move forward in making the change and it will possibly in place by the general election.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

60 Queens polling sites to have Bengali translations


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Ballots at 60 Queens polling sites this year will have Bengali translations, officials said, but advocates for South Asian voters are skeptical the move will crystallize.

“Our concern is that we were told in the past that Bengali ballots would be available, particularly for the November general election, and that did not happen,” said attorney Jerry Vattamala of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).

“We took their word and we sort of got burned,” he added. “Enough is enough.”

A group of South Asian proponents of Bengali ballots filed a lawsuit against the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) on July 2 for its failure, despite assurances, to provide adequate bilingual language assistance in four elections since April 2012.

“We tried to work with them, but then we came to an understanding they weren’t going to do it,” Vattamala said. “We just want something legally enforceable — written confirmation that Bengali will in fact be on the ballot for the next election.”

AALDEF represents the suit’s three plaintiffs, who say the BOE has not complied with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They argue that the law requires the city to provide election information and language assistance to South Asian minorities.

Parts of Queens have been covered under a provision of the act since October 13, 2011.

“You would think it wouldn’t have to come to a lawsuit,” Vattamala said. “But these things are very reasonable, what we’re asking for.”

BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez confirmed the borough would have, for the first time, Bengali language assistance for the September 10 primary and November general elections this year.

The 60 polling sites are located mostly in southern Queens near John F. Kennedy International Airport and near Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurt and Bellerose.

Depending on the number of voters with limited English proficiency in those areas, some of them could also have Hindi or Hindi-Punjabi interpreters.

“It was always our intention to be in full compliance for the 2013 election cycle,” Vazquez said.

Bengali translations were never promised for 2012 elections, Vazquez said, because ballot vendors needed to make technical modifications to the system.

As an interim plan, the board hired full-time staff interpreters and provided a translated candidates list at each polling site in the covered areas, the BOE said.

Supporters of the change are now cautiously optimistic, but agree it is a “tremendous step forward.”

“It’s bringing democracy to more people in Queens,” said John Prakash Albert, board chair of Taking Our Seat, a nonprofit group aimed at empowering South Asians voters.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky — who co-sponsored legislation that would require the BOE to provide written Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi language assistance — said implementing Bengali ballots “will have a direct and measurably positive impact on the lives of our neighbors.”

The bill was introduced in the state legislature last year, but never moved out of the Senate’s Elections Committee.

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Mazeda Uddin, the national women’s chair for the Alliance of South Asian American Labor, said the elections board is “still lacking.”

“They’re not giving us everything,” she said.

Advocates are seeking binding confirmation from the BOE, a formal Bengali language assistance compliance plan and an agreement to meet with a Bengali language advisory group.

“Last election, they promised me,” Uddin said. “This is the most important for our community. Our people can’t choose the right candidate for lack of access. So many voters can’t vote.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Queens GOP head drops lawsuit against new Republican election commissioner


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Queens County GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa has dropped his lawsuit claiming that the new Queens County Republican Commissioner for the Board of Elections was wrongly appointed, according to a document obtained by the New York Daily News.

Ragusa and ousted commissioner Judith Stupp were alleging that Councilman Eric Ulrich and two other members of the Republican cacus had no right to vote for the new commissioner Michael Michel because Stupp had already been selected to serve another term.

Even though Ragusa said he signed the required Certificate of Recommendation and sent it by mail in time, the caucus claimed that the reappointed wasn’t filed correctly.

 

 RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens GOP lawsuit claims election commissioner wrongly ousted


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A recent lawsuit filed by the head of the Queens County GOP, Phil Ragusa, and reportedly funded by Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, alleges that the Board of Elections Queens County Republican Commissioner was wrongly ousted from the position.

According to court records, Ragusa, as well as the ousted commissioner, Judith Stupp, are claiming that three members of the New York City Council’s Republican caucus, including Councilmember Erich Ulrich, appointed Michael Michel as the new Republican Commissioner, even though Stupp had already been appointed to another term.

Following procedure, Ragusa said that he signed a Certificate of Recommendation and, according to when he filed it by mail, presumed that it was received by the Office of the Clerk of the Council by November 24 at the latest, and within the time allowed to make the reappointment legitimate.

But the caucus, claiming that it wasn’t filed correctly, appointed a new Republican Commissioner, Michel, on January 25.

Councilmember Ulrich was the only party reached as of press time and declined to comment.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Joe Lhota officially enters mayoral race


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Lhoto photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr / Additional photos courtesy of Twitter (@JoeLhota)

It’s official. Joe Lhota, former CEO and chair of the MTA, is a mayoral candidate.

On Thursday Lhota filed papers with the Board of Elections to become the 109th mayor of New York City.

This morning on his newly created campaign website and Facebook page as well as on both his personal and campaign Twitter accounts he made the announcement:

He also tweeted an image with the slogan “A mayor for all of New York, proven leadership” and a photoshopped picture of Grand Central’s Mercury clock  with “Joe Lhota for Mayor” written below it.

The ex-transit head stepped down from his MTA position at the end of 2012 so he could ponder his candidacy, and said he would make his final decision on running in early January.

Lhota, a former deputy mayor for operations during the Rudy Giuliani administration, will reportedly run as a Republican.

Among his own party Lhota is a top contender, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Twenty-three percent of New York City voters said they would vote for Lhota in a Republican primary for mayor.

Coming in second was supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis with nine percent, followed by newspaper publisher Tom Allon with five percent, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion with three percent and Doe Fund founder George McDonald with two percent.

But 53 percent of those surveyed were still undecided.

The same Quinnipiac poll also found that voters would back several potential Democratic candidates, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and City Comptroller William Thompson, over Lhota by a 3-1 margin or more.

 

 

Candidates vie for Sanders’ City Council seat in special election


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Candidates 15th district

A vacant seat has been left in the 31st Council District by James Sanders’ ascent to the State Senate, and more than one candidate hopes to slide into the spot.

A special election is set to be held on February 19 for the coveted Council seat, covering parts of Springfield Gardens, Laurelton and Rosedale. The race has attracted several different candidates thus far, many of whom have hit the campaign trail running.

Sanders’ former chief-of-staff, Donovan Richards, is considered the front runner, according to multiple media reports. Richards has received endorsements from not only his former boss, but also from the City Council’s Progressive Caucus and the Working Families Party. He worked in the City Council for ten years under Sanders (pictured right), and is now looking to acquire his own seat.

In order to be eligible to run, all candidates must file with the Board of Elections (BOE) by January 15.

Valerie Vazquez, a BOE spokesperson, said that as of press time, Allan Jennings, a former City Councilmember, and Selvena Brooks, who has worked in the State Senate, have filed to run.

Brooks filed her candidacy under the party name “Rebuild Now,” referencing not only rebuilding post-Sandy, but also rebuilding the education system, local economy and neighborhoods.

Marie Adam-Ovide, the district manager of Community Board 8, has been expected to announce her candidacy, as is Earnest Flowers, former chief-of-staff of Assemblymember William Scarborough. Flowers boasts a reputation of making his promises a reality, and having “quantifiable work.”

“The reason why we don’t get a lot of things done is because no one puts anything down on paper, so no one can be held accountable,” said Flowers. “Everything I do is transparent.”

Flowers recently held a fundraising event for his campaign in his home, where he spoke to a crowd of roughly 60 about his passion for the community.

Many others are rumored to join the race, and will face each other on Thursday, February 7 at the 31st District Candidates’ Night. Members of the community will join the candidates in Laurelton at St. Luke’s

Cathedral where they will be given the opportunity to ask the Council hopefuls questions regarding their positions.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

 

 

Korean interpreter filling out ballots in Flushing, poll worker alleges


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0546w

A Korean-American interpreter was allegedly expelled from a Flushing poll site this afternoon after he was caught filling out ballots for voters, a poll watcher said.

The Board of Elections (BOE) interpreter — who was identified as a man in his 60s named Sang — allegedly told some Korean-speaking locals at P.S. 20 to cast their votes for President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates in statewide elections, including Korean Assembly hopeful Ron Kim.

The poll site worker also allegedly filled out ballots for some voters, pushing a Democratic slate, sources claim.

“The interpreter told the voter, ‘Hey, because you’re Korean, you want to vote for Obama and Ron Kim and down the line, all Democrats,’” said poll watcher Daniel Baek.

Baek, 30, said the man told Korean voters to come to his table for language assistance. He had assisted 51 people from 6 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Baek said, pointing to records.

“I don’t know how many of those voters are tainted,” Baek said. “He actually darkened the circle on behalf of the voters. I couldn’t afford to let him do that to more voters.”

Baek said he contacted his headquarters, which then contacted the BOE. A BOE coordinator then allegedly asked the man to pack up and leave shortly before 2 p.m., he said.

BOE officials did not immediately confirm the misconduct, which Baek said is still occurring at several other poll sites in Flushing, including St. Mary’s Nativity Church.

“I don’t think it matters if you’re a Democrat or Republican. Voter fraud is a terrible thing,” said Kevin Ryan, spokesperson for Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran, who is running for Congress and is also on the ballot at P.S. 20. “This is not something we want to mess around with, and it’s not to be tolerated.”

Phil Gim, the Republican contender challenging Kim, called on the BOE to fully investigate the matter.

“There is nothing more important than maintaining the integrity of our election process. The people of our community have a right to an election free from illegal manipulation,” Gim said. “The citizens of our [district] cannot have confidence in their elected officials if the manner in which they are elected is in any doubt.”

Absentee ballot sent to deceased woman — for more than two years


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

Angela Taborsky believed in the power of voting. She made certain every year to cast a ballot, and when she was no longer able to make the trip to the polling site, she registered for an absentee ballot.

Taborsky died two years ago, but in every election since, she has received an absentee ballot, remaining eligible to vote.

“[My mother] instilled in us that voting was your power to make a difference, but she should not still be given that power from the grave,” said Roseanne Frankel, Taborsky’s daughter.

Frankel has been receiving the official correspondence from the Board of Elections (BOE) at Taborsky’s former Little Neck residence in each election since her mother died in July 2010.

“I can’t be the only one, and who knows if they’re voting,” Frankel said.

The only way to get an individual’s name removed from the election roll is to provide a death certificate or a certified letter to the BOE that the person has died, said Valerie Vazquez, spokesperson for the agency.

Short of this, ballots will continually be sent out until the voter is declared ineligible, a process that could take years. Without notification, the BOE does not know how many ballots are being sent to residents long dead, Vazquez said, or if they are being filled out and counted as votes.

“There would be no way for us to know that,” Vazquez said.

Councilmember Peter Vallone, who sits on the City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations, which oversees the BOE, said he plans on speaking with the agency to see “what needs to be done to remedy this situation as soon as possible.”

“It doesn’t make sense for the BOE to wait until they receive a death certificate from a family to remove someone from the permanent absentee list,” said Vallone, who is penning a letter to the BOE on the subject. “I’m sure that’s not at the top of a family’s to-do list after a loved one dies, if anyone is even aware of this requirement.”

The BOE’s only defense against someone casting another person’s absentee ballot is the potential jail sentence.

“If you’re filling it out that would be fraudulent,” Vazquez said. “The person who did that would be perpetuating a crime.”

Votes from the deceased has long been an issue throughout the country. In 2006, a Poughkeepsie Journal investigation uncovered as many as 77,000 dead residents on New York’s election rolls, with more than 2,500 of them casting votes.

Last year, the Staten Island Advance discovered thousands of voters still registered with the city long after they died, including former politicians and celebrities. Nationally, more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters, according to the Pew Center on the States.

Problems have plagued the BOE, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg calling the agency “incompetent” in July.

Prior to the September primary, the BOE sent out mailers to voters with incorrect poll sites, and several voters were turned away from the polls during primary day mix-ups. This year, Bengali will not be on ballots, though it is required by law,

Of the millions of registered voters in the city, more than 9,000 receive absentee ballots.

Frankel said that with local elections often coming down to the wire, a few votes can make a difference.

“My mother’s dead, I don’t want her deciding any elections.”

Voters, pols say poll site mix-ups were rampant


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0546w

A series of mix-ups, stemming from confusion from both voters and poll workers, plagued several election sites in the borough during last week’s primary, according to local elected officials.

Assemblymember Mike Miller — who bested his opponent, Etienne David Adorno, by a 71 to 29 percent margin — said he had to battle several slipups by poll site workers and the Board of Elections (BOE) last Thursday, September 13, before securing his win.

A major mishap, he said, occurred for the first four hours on election day, when a poll site inspector at P.S. 113 in Glendale shooed away Democratic voters, saying there was only a Republican and Independent primary in the 38th District.

“That was a major issue,” said Miller, who is now running unopposed in the upcoming November general election. “It could have cost both of us votes. It was a crazy day. We just wanted to get it taken care of.”

At least five different individuals looking to exercise their rights were also misled by poll workers at P.S. 239, the incumbent said. They were sent back and forth between the Ridgewood elementary school and Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, which is almost a mile away. A Woodhaven woman was also denied an affidavit ballot at P.S. 97, Miller said.

Several poll sites across the city changed after recent redistricting redrew the boundaries of election districts, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez. Alternative poll sites also needed to replace numerous locations throughout all five boroughs, including 51 in Queens, that were found not to be handicap accessible, she said.

But some mailers sent out by the BOE last month notifying voters they had new stations were given the incorrect address, officials said. Vasquez said the agency was under pressure to get the mailers out between August 1 and 5 and said some voting sites were incorrect as a result.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who also claimed victory in her district race, said her office fielded a mixture of complaints last Thursday, primarily stemming from people who were sent to the wrong polling place.

Board of Elections leaves Bengali off ballot


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Translators and appropriate documents will be at voting stations with large Bengali populations this November, a Board of Elections (BOE) official said, after it was announced the language would not be an option on this year’s ballots, much to the chagrin of officials and residents.

The BOE’s vendor, Election Systems & Software LLC (ES&S), had “significant technical difficulties” changing its voting system, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vasquez. BOE staff met with ES&S and determined the changes — and the needed for state certification — would not be feasible by this November, she said. The vendor is continuing to work on making the changes ready for elections in 2013.

Ballots are required, under the federal Voting Rights Act, to have the native languages of an area’s population where five percent of eligible voters have below average English skills. Census data released last year showed an increasing number of Bengali residents in the borough and thus required by law to be used on ballots in select areas.

Other prominently spoken languages in the borough, including Spanish, Chinese and Korean, will not be affected by the difficulties, Vasques said.

Materials and personnel will be provided to Bengali-speaking voters, she said, to remedy the difficulties some may face when casting their ballots.

“The Board has taken important steps to address the language community’s needs until ballot placement can be achieved, and continues to reach out to community representatives through an established working group,” she said. “Steps planned include a translated candidate name list for use by voters, as well as a sample ballot poster for the November general election, together with translated posters, other written materials and signage.”

This is not enough to some, however, as politicians and community members spoke out soon after the announcement, demanding something be done to ensure the legal requirements are enacted.

“Data released a year ago told us what we already knew in our area of Queens County – that a significant segment of the population speaks Bengali (also known as Bangla), Punjabi, and Hindi,” Assemblymember David Weprin said. “It is not enough to provide interpreters or translated materials. Asian-Indians in Queens are covered under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act and anything less than full compliance is an injustice.”

Queens has a number of South Asian populations that will be affected by these changes, including Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Queens Village and Jackson Heights.

Vishnu Mahadeo, a Richmond Hill advocate originally from Guyana, said in the past the BOE had not taken responsibility to help Bengali voters.

Mahadeo, who heads the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council and is a coordinator with the BOE, said he has tried in the past to get interpreters hired for Bengali residents, predominately in South Ozone Park, and for Punjabi and Hindi residents in Ozone Park and Richmond Hill.

The problem Mahadeo says he’s run into, however, is a miscommunication between the BOE and the community. Many residents have been under the impression that citizenship is required to work for the BOE. All that is required, Mahadeo said, is proficiency in a language and permanent residency.

Weprin, who pushed for multi-lingual ballots in the Legislature, expressed disappointment the language would not be available to Bengali-speaking voters.

“Our practice should be to provide ballots in the languages of the Asian Indian communities to encourage voter participation, not fall short of our promises to accommodate these populations,” Weprin said. “This is a very important election and voter suppression simply can not be tolerated in our Democracy.”

Bengali ballots should be released for elections, Weprin said, or other options needed to be taken.

“We must stay on top of this issue and demand this mandate be implemented,” he said. “Otherwise we will have to consider other options to ensure the Board of Elections complies with this law.”

BOE mailers gave wrong poll sites


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley's office

Some mailers sent out by the Board of Elections (BOE) last month telling voters they had new stations may have given the incorrect address, officials said.

Mailers had originally been sent out to inform voters that some stations had changed in correspondence with new district lines. A number of these sites were wrong.

The BOE was under pressure to get the mailers out between August 1 and 5, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vasquez, and some voting sites were incorrect as a result.

“In these instances, poll site change notices were immediately sent to every voter affected informing of their correct poll site,” she said. Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said she noticed the flub right away and immediately called the BOE to find out what had happened. Her staff has been reaching out to voters to encourage them to call the BOE to confirm their new ballot site.

“A week from now, voters from all over New York City may be going to the wrong polling site because the Board of Elections mailed them the incorrect information,” she said.

Crowley was one of several Queens officials to sign a letter from Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio that insisted the BOE remedy the mishap as soon as possible.

“If we can’t even get people to the right poll site to vote, we are really up the creek,” DiBlasio. “The Board of Elections has to make this right. Fast.”

 

– With additional reporting by Melissa Chan

Voters angry over poll site changes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Arthur DeLuca has been voting in the same poll site since 1950.

But when he received notification in the mail from the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) saying his poll location had been moved almost a mile further away, the 87-year-old Oakland Gardens senior said he initially lost all desire to exercise his rights.

“I voted all my life. I said I was just going to stop,” DeLuca said. “It’s not right.”

Several poll sites across the city have changed — including 51 in Queens — after recent redistricting redrew the physical boundaries of election districts, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez.

Alternative poll sites also needed to replace numerous locations throughout all five boroughs that were found not to be handicap accessible, Vazquez said.

“It really varies on a case-by-case basis,” she said. “We tried to make the changes as convenient as possible for voters.”

Assembly hopeful Nily Rozic, a 25th District candidate, said the modifications were “another example of BOE disenfranchising voters, especially the elderly.”

“In the very least, the community should be given the opportunity to comment in a public forum. Many voters will not be able to exercise their right to vote due to these changes,” she said.

Vazquez said it would not have been the city BOE’s responsibility to hold a public hearing or commenting period, adding that voters received notification in the mail if their voting location had changed.

“These are the lines that were given to us by the state,” she said. “From there, the way that the districts were drawn — that is how our election district lines have changed as well.”

DeLuca, who lives on 207th Street, said he has been casting his ballot at P.S. 162, located at 201-02 53rd Avenue, since he first started voting. His new site — the Marie Curie Middle School at 46-35 Oceania Street — will be a trek, said the elder who limits his driving.

“We’ve been living here for so long, voting in the same place. Suddenly they changed it. I don’t think they care about the elderly anymore. I don’t see how they could change it,” he said. “How could they do it?”

The BOE did not specify how many sites throughout the city have changed.

Voters unsure of where their poll sites are located can visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.

Queens politicians eyeing run for borough president


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

bp

Although Helen Marshall still has one year left on her third term as borough president, several big names are rumored to be eyeing a run for the job.

Councilmember Peter Vallone said that although he hasn’t made an official announcement yet, he’s seriously considering running for the borough presidency. Vallone, who currently represents Astoria, said he’s been traveling throughout Queens and getting a good reception from residents.

“I’m getting a great reception,” he said. “I am very pleased with the amount of support we’re finding.”

Vallone went on to say he would further his work in the city council if elected borough president.

“I’ve lived every day of my life in Queens,” he said, “and I’ve been fighting for Queens for the last 10 years.”

About $1 million has been raised for Vallone’s campaign, which he said is significantly higher than any other potential candidate.

While State Senator Jose Peralta’s office could not comment as to whether he is considering running, a committee has been formed called “Peralta 2013,” according to the State Board of Elections (BOE). The committee is active and is listed as a local committee for Queens County, said John Conklin, a representative from the BOE.

Another councilmember expected to run is Leroy Comrie, who currently represents the 27th District in the borough.

At deadline, Comrie was not available to discuss his interest in running for the spot. A campaign page on Facebook, however, was created in December 2011.

Others who have been rumored to run for BP were not able to confirm or deny a potential campaign.

Pols push for more languages on ballot


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0113w

Two elected officials and a coalition of South Asian community leaders pushed for the passage of a bill that would put Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi on ballots and election material in the borough.

The bill, co-sponsored by State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymember David Weprin, would direct the county’s Board of Elections (BOE) to provide written language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi on ballots, signs, voter mailings, employee and volunteer training material and information on the BOE’s web site.

The legislation, Weprin said, would increase voter turnout at the polls and voter access.

“The growing South Asian community in Queens is highly focused on civic engagement,” Stavisky said. “We must pass this bill to make life easier for people who are simply trying to exercise their rights.”

Democratic District Leader Albert Baldeo, who was defeated in a tight Senate race in 2006, said the lack of languages on the ballot negatively impacted his run.

Baldeo said he lost by a very small margin — some 387 votes — during his failed try at election in the 15th District because “the minority vote was suppressed.”

“There are many instances of people getting sent away from the polls, people who were actually discouraged from voting from poll site workers, because there was no assistance to speak to them in their language or in written materials,” said Baldeo.

While Weprin said the BOE had raised concerns over the print on the ballot getting too small, a spokesperson said the agency has not yet taken an official stance on the matter.

There is only one week left to get the green light for the bill since the legislative session is scheduled to end June 21.