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TODAY: Democracy Ride Along with Common Cause/NY

STAFF REPORTS


NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Today, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY will be traveling to poll sites throughout Brooklyn to monitor them for any general Election Day issues. In particular, she will be ensuring that Arabic, Russian, Haitian Creole, Italian, and Yiddish interpreters are able to properly assist voters, as well as focusing on problem poll sites where voters in the September primary were incorrectly labeled as "inactive."

If you'd like to join Susan on Election Day, please contact Becky Stern at 516 581 5707, or follow @commoncauseny on Twitter for regular updates throughout the day.

The following is a tentative schedule subject to change:

8am: Sheepshead bay 1970 Homecrest Avenue (Russian & Arabic translators)

8:30/9am: Bay ridge (poll site tbd).

10/10:30am: Borough Park 4912 14 Avenue (Yiddish translators) and 6500 16 Avenue (Italian translator).

12pm: Park Slope (poll site tbd).

Break

The rest of the schedule will be in response to incoming reports.

Background:

On Friday, Common Cause/NY and seven other nonprofits issued a letter to the New York City Board of Elections (NYCBOE) and Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs demanding they allow interpreters for limited English proficient (LEP) voters at poll sites.

Last general election, the BOE refused to permit taxpayer funded Russian and Haitian Creole interpreters inside of poll sites, or even in proximity to the entrance, requiring them to stand 100 feet away due to supposed electioneering.

This year, New York City has expanded its program and will provide translators to assist voters with translation services in Arabic, Russian, Haitian Creole, Italian, and Yiddish at selected polling places in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

Common Cause/NY helped train the interpreters to avoid partisan questions and instead focus on helping voters read the ballot and understand instructions and signs.

On Primary Day last month, 27% of registered voters turned out to vote – almost double the numbers from the 2014 primary.

Of the 1.5 million people who voted, too many experienced problems at the polls. Over 125 New Yorkers shared their election day story with Common Cause/NY on or after the primary.

70% of voters reported to Common Cause/NY having trouble on election day:

Slightly more than half of affected voters reported not being on the voter rolls, despite the fact that many are long time registered voters or had voted within the last year.

Numerous voters reported issues at their poll site, from missing pollbooks, to broken voting machines and missing signage, or poorly trained staff.

Dante de Blasio, Mayor de Blasio's son, encountered perennial incompetence from the BOE.
19.3% of voters contacting Common Cause/NY reported an unauthorized change in party affiliation from the Democratic party to the Reform party or to unaffiliated status.

As a follow-up analysis, CCNY reviewed the voter file and found that 338 super-prime Democrats appear to have had their party affiliation changed between the federal and state primary this year.