The city Board of Elections released a statement on Monday saying that the teams of translators who were hired by Mayor de Blasio’s administration to assist Russian- and Haitian Creole-speaking voters will have to station themselves more than 100 feet from polling places on Election Day.
This comes after NYPD cops were told to avoid interfering with the interpreters if they made their way to the electioneering-free zone that was established by state law. Michael Ryan, who is BOE Executive Director revealed that officials decided to enforce the 100-foot rule to avoid any appearance of impropriety as de Blasio seeks re-election.
“I think there were obvious concerns, and these concerns were addressed,” Ryan said.
State Republican Chairman Ed Cox said GOP lawyers contacted the BOE early Monday to complain about de Blasio’s translators plan, under which the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is sending 40 workers from the “Good Temps” agency to 20 polling places in southern Brooklyn.
The one-time effort, which will be funded by the City Council, is expected to cost approximately $8,000. Nicole Mallotakis, who is the Republican mayoral challenger blasted the use of taxpayer money and said her campaign workers would be “watching to make sure nothing funny is going on.”
The cops were informed on Monday that although the translators have to set up more than 100 feet from polling places, they can be allowed closer and even inside if voters ask, law-enforcement sources said.
“It’s bulls–t,” one source said.
“If they talk in Russian and the translator says, ‘Tell them you want me to go inside with you,’ how’s the cop supposed to know?”
De Blasio’s campaign declined to comment, but Immigrant Affairs Spokeswoman Rosemary Boeglin said: “We are proud to play a role in creating greater voter access. Interpreters will be stationed outside of the polling sites, in compliance with state law.”