Montgomery County's Hispanic voters deserve as much

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
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According to the 2010 census, the Hispanic population of Montgomery County is 11.3 percent — roughly double that of adjacent Schenectady County. So how is it that the latter can abide by an order from the state attorney general to accommodate Spanish-speaking voters at the polls where the former can’t?

As a story in yesterday’s Gazette indicated, Schenectady County wasted little time responding to a directive sent to 10 upstate counties with large Hispanic populations last August by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to ensure that Hispanic voters understand who the candidates for which offices are, where they’re supposed to vote, how to decipher their ballots, etc.

Within weeks, Schenectady’s election commissioners say they’d signed a binding memorandum of agreement, promising to furnish a translator on Election Day in all census tracts with a Hispanic population of 5 percent or more; as well as Spanish-language ballots, voting literature, and mailed notices prior to the election. And they were able to meet the requirements without spending any extra money, and thus were able to address the issue without seeking legislative approval.

Montgomery County’s election commissioners came close, but couldn’t seal the deal: The notices they mailed prior to the November election weren’t translated. Officials claimed that because it would have cost money to do so, they needed Board of Supervisors’ approval.

It’s not too late to get it and fully comply with the attorney general’s demands, especially since the AG’s office seems pretty lax about the whole thing. But pre-Election Day notices are important if you want people to vote, so we hope Montgomery County agrees to abide by this provision, whether it formally signs the AG’s memorandum or not.

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March 6, 2013
8:08 a.m.
albright1 says...

If you can't speak English, how do you know what the candidates campaign platform is? If you live in America, job #1 should be to learn how to speak English.

March 6, 2013
12:19 p.m.
justapto says...

Right; give the election away to non English speaking illegals and immegrants who don't care to assimulate. I can see an agenda that could be carried by getting out the 'Spanish' speaking crowd. What about the brochures and signs that will be Spanish only? Now we need to have some one read them in English for the rest of us. My realitives were Polish, some German, Russian,
French; why not them also. NOT a good idea.

March 6, 2013
1:04 p.m.
cidbil says...

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Unless of course they don't speak English..and if that's the case, screw 'em....

March 6, 2013
6:59 p.m.
SnowGrinch says...

Illegals??? Immigrants???
For those Amsterdam residents who were born in Puerto Rico... they are not "Illegal" or "Immigrants"... they were born American Citizens and their only "immigration" is inside their own country.

March 7, 2013
9:52 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Wrong again snowgrinch, Puerto Ricans are citizens but DO NOT have voting rights in the U.S unless they were born in the U.S. which if that is the case they should know how to speak English. Please stop making stuff up to suit you're liberal agenda.

March 7, 2013
12:03 p.m.
albright1 says...

Actually wmarincic, I think they can vote if they live in the US. But they should still learn English. To become an actual naturalized citizen of the US, you must demonstrate a proficiency in the English language. If a voter wants to bring an assistant to translate or help them with the process, they are entitled to do that but asking the citizens of this State or this country to pay for this assistance is wrong.

March 7, 2013
1:10 p.m.
wmarincic says...

albright1, you are correct, I was wrong as far as living in the U.S.they can vote They can not vote in P.R. You are also correct, if you are going to live and work here, you have an obligation to learn the language, especially if you are voting.

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