July 18, 2016

Mayor de Blasio Launches Voter Registration Forms in Five New Languages, Expanding Access to Voting

Voter registration forms now available in Russian, Urdu, Haitian Creole, French and Arabic


NEW YORK–– As part of the administration’s efforts to expand voting participation and access, Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the launch of voter registration forms in five new languages: Russian, Urdu, Haitian Creole, French and Arabic. 
“No one should be disenfranchised because of their language,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These voter registration forms in five new languages will help us involve even more New Yorkers in the voting process. New York is a city of immigrants, and these forms will help New Yorkers of every background cast their ballots on Election Day.”
“With these new voter registration forms, we are sending a clear message: civic participation matters for all New Yorkers, and all citizens should be able to exercise their right to vote,” said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “New York City is the most diverse city in America, with over 200 languages spoken. With this announcement, the de Blasio administration has now ensured that there are accessible voter registration forms for 80 percent of Limited English Proficient eligible voters in New York City, and we will continue to expand these efforts in 2016.”
The administration has already taken multiple steps to increase participation in the electoral process and reduce barriers to voting. The Mayor issued Directive #1 expanding the requirements for agency-based voter registration, including a requirement that 19 agencies provide assistance with completing voter registration forms if requested, and has worked with the City Council to expand the agencies covered by the law. Additionally, the administration is currently implementing a pilot project to provide electronic, agency-based voter registration.
The new forms will be available on the Campaign Finance Board website (www.nyccfb.info/), which is also found on the homepage of NYC.gov under “Register to Vote.”
The City will also add additional voter registration form languages in the coming months beyond the five new languages announced today, with the aim to provide translated versions in the top languages spoken by limited English proficient eligible voters. Previously, the voter registration forms were available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Bangla.
Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs announced the launch of five new form languages at Homecrest Library in Brooklyn, where she was joined by the Campaign Finance Board, elected officials, community-based groups and leadership from the Brooklyn Public Library. A number of immigrant community organizations partnered with the Mayor’s Office on this initiative, including AALDEF (Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund), African Communities Together, Arab-American Family Support Center, CAMBA, Make the Road New York, MUNA NY and Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach.
Many New Yorkers may be eligible for citizenship and the benefits it provides, including voting. The City is also providing support to immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens through its NYCitizenship program, which Mayor de Blasio launched this year. As part of NYCitizenship, New York City residents receive appointments with a trusted attorney for help with citizenship applications, information sessions about the citizenship process and its benefits, and free and confidential financial counseling. U.S. citizenship gives residents the right to travel with a U.S. passport, vote in elections, and access more job opportunities. To learn more, visit www.nyc.gov/citizenship.

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