New York – With the presidential election just seven weeks away, Yiddish speaking residents of the Empire State will now find it easier than ever to cast their ballots, as New York voter registration forms have finally been made available in Yiddish.
Until recently, voter registration forms were available in only five languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Bangla, prompting Assemblyman Dov Hikind to wonder why forms couldn’t also be provided for Yiddish speakers.
“A lot of people, even those who do speak English, feel more comfortable doing things like this in Yiddish, in mamme loshon,” Hikind told VIN News.
Just two months ago the de Blasio administration announced that forms had been launched in Urdu, Haitian Creole, French, Russian and Arabic, with the promise of more languages yet to come in order to encourage access to voting for all New Yorkers.
“I saw all those additional languages and my reaction was how come you forgot about us?” said Hikind.
Hikind said that while the idea for Yiddish forms first came to him approximately 20 years ago, he has pushed hard over the past year to have the forms translated into Yiddish in time for the upcoming presidential election. Currently the forms are available in all of the above languages as well as Polish, Italian, Tagalog, Shqip and Greek.
Hikind thanked City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mike Ryan of the Board of Elections for their efforts on behalf of the many Yiddish speaking people in his district and throughout the state.
“There is a large Yiddish speaking population even outside of the Orthodox community, with many in the Russian community speak Yiddish fluently,” observed Hikind. “Yiddish is not just a language for older people, it is alive and well and if you look at the newsstands near my office you will see many, many newspapers, all written in Yiddish.”
The deadline for voter registration for the November 8th general election is Friday, October 14th.
Download the Yiddish voter registration forms at http://www.nyccfb.info/PDF/nyc_votes/forms/YI_Registration_Form.pdf