MONTICELLO – The Sullivan County Board of Elections and the State Attorney General’s Office have finalized an agreement for the board to provide Spanish language materials and access on and before Election Day.
The board began offering the bilingual services last August and had Spanish language ballots available for those voters in need of them last November.
Republican Elections Commissioner Rodney Gaebel said on Wednesday the county must, among other things, provide Spanish speaking poll watchers on Election Day.
“We need to make available all the things we make available in English, in Spanish also for all the poll sites and election districts. We did that for the November election and will continue to do it,” Gaebel said.
Sandra Cuellar Oxford is a community activist in Sullivan and she is pleased with the course of action.
“I think that it is a wonderful opportunity for many newly empowered citizens who are going to want to vote and I feel that it is going to increase the electoral power to bring more people to the polls,” Oxford said.
Of the approximately 60,000 persons of voting age in Sullivan County, 8.6 percent primarily speak Spanish at home.
Other area counties that are required by the state to provide Spanish language election services are Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster and Rockland. Orange County must provide similar services under a federal consent decree.