Korean Voter Assistance
From Joong Ang
Aug 20, 2003

By Jong Hoon Kim

Elections on September 9th and November 4th will have Korean language assistance across Queens in more than a hundred places, with two to four translators per site.

The New York City Board of Elections, in accordance with the federal law mandating language assistance for immigrants, started to provide Korean translators, brochures and ballots last year. It decided to increase 20 places to around 100 places in Queens.

To meet this demand, at least 200 Korean translators are needed, and the Board of Elections is asking for help from organizations such as the New York Immigration Coalition.

Moon, who is campaigning for participating elections in youth groups, welcomed the policy of the Board of Elections, in that translation service will greatly help Koreans to exercise suffrage with greater convenience. However, there is a concern about lacking enough people who can volunteer for the position. Hong, the advocacy director of the New York Immigration Coalition, explained the lack of participation.

The Coalition is looking for 500 translators in total at voting sites from each immigrant community. Of the 250 who applied, only 5 percent of them are Koreans. From Korean-American Comm. E. C., the president Park said, “The Board has under-representation of Koreans. For large voters’ turnout among them, the 1st and the 2nd generations who are comfortable with both language, are needed.”

On the other hand, 3 districts—Queens County in New York State, Los Angeles County and Orange County in California were mandated to have Korean translation, after the 2000 population census. The Court’s decision was based on the law that protects rights of voters in a single district which has more than a 10 thousand of a population that is not comfortable with English. If any district contains such communities, it has to supply information brochures and ballots in those languages.

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Translated from Korean by Joo Yeon Lee

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