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BOE Response to Espaillat for Congress Letter (1)

BOE Response to Espaillat for Congress Letter (1)

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Published by Celeste Katz
BOE Response to Espaillat for Congress Letter (1)
BOE Response to Espaillat for Congress Letter (1)

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Categories:Types, Legal forms
Published by: Celeste Katz on Jun 23, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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06/24/2014

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GREGORY C. SOUMAS MICHAEL J. RYAN P
RESIDENT
 E
XECUTIVE
 D
IRECTOR
 
MICHAEL MICHEL DAWN SANDOW S
ECRETARY
 D
EPUTY
 E
XECUTIVE
 D
IRECTOR
 JOSE MIGUEL ARAUJO PAMELA GREEN PERKINS RONALD CASTORINA Jr. A
DMINISTRATIVE
M
 ANAGER
 JULIE DENT MARIA R. GUASTELLA MICHAEL A. RENDINO SIMON SHAMOUN FREDERIC M. UMANE C
OMMISSIONERS
 
BOARD OF ELECTIONS
IN
THE CITY OF NEW YORK EXECUTIVE OFFICE, 32 BROADWAY NEW YORK, NY 10004–1609 (212) 487–5300 FAX (212) 487–5349 www.vote.nyc.ny.us
 June 23, 2014 Jesse Campoamor Campaign Manager Espaillat for Congress
Rasheida Smith Campaign Manager Rangel for Congress
Jerry H. Goldfedder, Esq. Counsel Walrond for Congress
Via E-mail Only:  jgoldfedder@stroock.com 
Richard Soto Campaign Manager Garcia for Congress
Via E-mail Only: soto.1234@hotmail.com Re: 13
th
 Congressional District  Adriano Espaillat for Congress 2014 letter dated June 22, 2014
 Dear Mr. Campoamor and Ms. Smith: Re the above matter and as you are aware, the number of Spanish speaking interpreters has become the subject of some public discourse in recent days. Attached please find a copy of an unsigned letter dated June 22, 2014 received from Adriano Espaillat for Congress 2014 on the above date. To fully explain the actions of the Board of Elections in the City of New York (“the Board”), it is necessary to provide context to the issues raised. The Board has been characterized as having “decreased” the number of Spanish language translators. The reports on the “decrease” have taken that single fact in a vacuum which has led to the inaccurate dissemination of information and unnecessary alarm.
 
In 2012 a redistricting was conducted for both Congressional and State Legislative District lines. In 2013 a redistricting was conducted for New York City Council District lines. In December 2011 (and in anticipation of the upcoming redistricting processes) the Commissioners of the Board voted to increase the target number of voters per election district from a range of 650-750 to a range of 1050-1100. This increase was based on experience as to the number of voters that may be accommodated by the electronic voting system (“EVS”). The increase was made to responsibly utilize the resources allocated to the Board and generate cost-reduction where practicable. In addition to the foregoing, the Board must, on an on-going basis, evaluate and re-evaluate poll sites to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and New York State Election Law § 4-104. As recently as May 14, 2014 the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circiut affirmed a lower court ruling on United Spinal Association, et al. v. Board of Elections in the City of New York, et al. (United Spinal) requiring strict adherence to the tenets of the ADA and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“§ 504”). Consequently, over the course of time numerous poll sites (many of them New York City Public Schools) can no longer be utilized as polls site as they are not in compliance with the above referenced statutes and they are not suitably accessible for persons with disabilities attempting to exercise their voting franchise privately and independently. The combination of all of the above concerns has led to an overall reduction of poll sites throughout the city from 1353 to 1249. In the 13
th
 Congressional District, the number of poll sites was reduced from 134 to 103 in Manhattan and from 29 to 27 in the Bronx. For Manhattan in 2012 there were 127 interpreters deployed to 134 poll sites, a coverage ratio of 95%. For the primary election tomorrow in Manhattan there are 103 interpreters assigned to 103 poll sites, a coverage ratio of 100%. For the Bronx the coverage ratio for interpreters assigned to the poll sites in both 2012 and 2014 is 100%. In addition to the assigned Spanish interpreters for Manhattan, there are 49 Spanish interpreters in the standby pool, 217 poll workers and or coordinators who also speak Spanish assigned to poll sites and 16 poll workers in the standby pool who also speak Spanish. Likewise in the Bronx there are an additional 25 Spanish interpreters in the standby pool, 61 pollworkers and or coordinators who also speak Spanish assigned to poll sites and 33 poll workers and coordinators who also speak Spanish in the standby pool. The assertion made in the June 22
nd
 letter regarding the number of Chinese interpreters assigned versus the number of Spanish interpreters assigned utilizing the percentage of residents of each language group in the district set forth in United States Census data, represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the legal requirements under which the Board must operate in this area. Pursuant to a settlement in CEVA v. Ravitz, the Board entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) requiring the Board to use its “best efforts” to ensure that where needed a Cantonese and Mandarin speaking interpreter will be deployed to poll sites. The reason for this requirement is not due to Asian population

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