Posted on December 23, 2009
FREDERIC M. UMANE MARCUS CEDERQVIST PRESIDENT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
JULIE DENT GEORGE GONZALEZ SECRETARY DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
JOSE MIGUEL ARAUJO PAMELA GREEN PERKINS JUAN CARLOS “J.C.” POLANCO ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER
BOARD OF ELECTIONS
JAMES J. SAMPEL NANCY MOTTOLA-SCHACHER ROSANNA KOSTAMOULAS RAHMOUNI IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK
NAOMI C. SILIE COORDINATOR EXECUTIVE OFFICE,
32 BROADWAY GREGORY C. SOUMAS J.P. SIPP ELECTION DAY OPERATIONS
NEW YORK, NY 10004-1609
JUDITH D. STUPP
FAX (212) 487-5342
www .vote .nyc.ny.us
December 21, 2009
Dear LAP Advisory group members:
Thank you for attending our December i h meeting at the Board of Elections. We were very pleased with the turnout of representatives from community organizations, advocacy groups, and the general public. It is our hope that the Language Assistance Program will be improved through these meetings. A summary of that meeting follows:
Summary -December 7,2009 LAP Advisory Groups
The joint meeting of the Chinese and Korean Language Advisory Groups held on December 7 was led by Rachel Knipel, Coordinator of Language Assistance Programs. Also in attendance :
Marcus Cederqvist, Executive Director Pamela Perkins, Administrative Manager Steven H. Richman, General Counsel John Owens, Enforcement Counsel Rosanna Kostamoulas Rahmouni, Coordinator of Election Day Operations Michael Sternlieb, Previous Coordinator of LAP Greg Lehman, Chief Clerk -Manhattan Borough Office Katherine James, Deputy Chief Clerk -Queens Borough Office Rick Yin, Deputy LAP Coordinator Joanne Liu, Deputy LAP Coordinator Rose Ham, Deputy LAP Coordinator Elizabeth Kim, Deputy LAP Coordinator Mary Digiulio, Poll Worker Dept. -Queens Borough Office Shirley Lee, Registration -Queens Borough Office
The Advisory Groups received an overview of the Language Assistance Program, the 2009 targeting of assisted sites in targeted boroughs Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, a post-election summary of how many interpreters were required for each language in these boroughs, and information on becoming an interpreter on Election Day. LAP updates for the 2009 Election Cycle include lavender interpreter-journal booklets, Manhattan standby pool for Chinese interpreters, and a new checklist for A.D. monitors to more effectively recognize missing language materials from a poll site.
Feedback from the members of the Advisory Groups was generally positive, expressing gratitude at the steps the Board has taken to provide support and resolve problems..
Participants also expressed concerns about continuing issues in a number of areas.
Chejin Park of KAVC said that many interpreters do not understand training, and suggested that training be provided in all languages. The Board staff explained that the role of interpreter is to interpret between the poll worker and the voter, making English proficiency pertinent to the role. Glenn D. Magpantay of AALDEF suggested that many interpreters can orally speak and understand English, but the written word might be more difficult to comprehend. The class remains to be taught in English, but the Board will look into the translation of the Interpreter Guide.
Executive Director Marcus Cederqvist explained the certification process of the new voting systems that are to be implemented into every poll site for the 2010 election cycle. The State Board is set to certify a system on December 15,2009.
General Counsel Steven H. Richman invited everyone to the public demonstrations that the Board will be holding in the weeks to come, to see and become familiar with the new voting systems.
Irene Cheung of CAVA stated that voters did not receive notification notices for the Run-Off and General Elections.
Board staff explained that there is only one notification mailing sent out per election cycle. This mailing is sent out prior to the Primary Election, and contains information for all upcoming elections. The Board does not send out multiple notification mailings due to budget restrictions.
Chejin Park (KAVC) said that the layout of the notification letter was difficult to understand, and if it could resemble the layout of the Board’s acknowledgment letter, it would be easier to comprehend.
The Board will consult with its’ Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Valerie Vazquez, about the reformatting of the document.
Cathy Shim of Kevin Kim’s Campaign brought up that some poll sites were lacking interpreters’ altogether and questioned why a poll watcher could not help voters in these sites.
Board staff explained that while a voter may choose whom they would like to help them in the voting booth (other than their employer or Union Representative), a poll watcher is a partisan individual, whose purpose for being at the poll site is to advocate for the candidate they are working for. These individuals can not suddenly take on a non-partisan role inside the polling site. A poll watcher may assist a voter, upon request, if it is outside the 1DO-ft. No Electioneering signs, outside of the poll site.
Moreover, if there is a voter in need of assistance at a site where no interpreters are available, coordinators have the phone number to the BOE phone bank, where interpreters in each language are available all day to assist, and may interpret for poll workers over the phone.
Many LAP group members brought up specific problems that occurred on Election Days, including improperly trained poll workers, the misconduct of certain inspectors, and general issues that arose during the days.
The Board explained that problems that arise during Election Day must be reported immediately to either the Borough Office, or the General Office. All BOE Office’s have multiple teams out in the field troubleshooting every Election Day, from the opening to the closing of polls. Specifics about each situation should be called in, and a team will be sent over to the site.
Additionally, Board staff said that problematic poll workers may be reported and entered into the Commissioners Program for Poll Worker Non-Compliance, where hearings will be held and corrective action taken.
Chejin Park (KAVC) noted that some voters experienced a change of Party Affiliation automatically when they submitted the form to change their address.
Board staff explained that this could not occur without proper documentation, and advised such voters to call in to their Boroygh Office or General Office to affirm their Party Affiliation.
The Board staff informed the members of the Advisory Groups that all issues raised at the meeting will be addressed during the Board’s training and monitoring programs, or referred to the appropriate department at the Board.
Glenn D. Magpantay (AALDEF) commended the Board for the new name tags that were instilled in this past Election cycle, and on its’ highly receptive troubleshooting during the Elections.
The Board continued to encourage interpreter recruitment, and explained that more interpreters are needed for standby pools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.