Press Releases

Civic Engagement Commission Announces Voter Language Assistance Services for the Presidential Primary

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2023

Contact:, 646-769-6032

CEC Augments BOE Interpretation Services at 110 Poll Sites Across NYC

New York – New York City Civic Engagement Commission (CEC) Chair and Executive Director Dr. Sarah Sayeed announced today that the CEC will provide language assistance for citizens with Limited English Proficient (LEP) in 11 languages at 110 poll sites across New York City on select days of the April Presidential Primary. On Election Day, the CEC will provide voter interpretation services at 80 poll sites, while an additional 30 poll sites will receive services on the last two days of the Early Voting period, March 29th and 30th.

"Making voting accessible through language services is vital for democracy in a city where one in four people are Limited English Proficient," said Dr. Sarah Sayeed. "The Civic Engagement Commission is proud to work with interpreters to remove one of the many barriers to civic engagement for hundreds of Limited English Proficient New Yorkers."

CEC's Voter Language Assistance Program provides interpretation services in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), French, Haitian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Yiddish and Urdu. The program usually covers 100 unique poll sites with one or more language services each year for the primary and general elections. The CEC voter interpretation services augment but do not duplicate voter interpretation services offered by the Board of Elections. To accommodate religious services, Yiddish interpretation services will be offered Thursday March 28th and Friday March 29th.

"Language access for immigrant New Yorkers has been a key priority for this administration," said Manuel Castro, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "That's why our office is excited to work with Civic Engagement Commission to provide poll site interpretation for the upcoming April Presidential Primary Election. We encourage all those who can vote to make sure their voice is heard during this election year, regardless of the language that they speak."

The Voter Language Assistance Program is a NYC Charter mandated program designed to give language access to voters with limited English proficiency, in line with Local Law 30 which requires City government agencies to provide services in the city's top languages. Based on American Community Survey (ACS) data, one in four New Yorkers are Limited English Proficient.

Since 2020, the CEC, through its Voter Language Assistance Program, has enabled approximately 6,000 LEP voters in New York City to receive assistance with navigating a poll site or voting in their language. The selection of languages and poll sites is based on a publicly vetted methodology which relies on the most recent available American Community Survey (ACS) data on Citizen of Voting Age with Limited English Proficiency.

The CEC relies on the Language Assistance Advisory Committee (LAAC), a charter mandated volunteer advisory group of New Yorkers passionate about language access and civic engagement, to implement the Voter language Assistance Program and educate NYC's language communities about voter rights and CEC voter interpretation services.

The CEC promotes the right to vote in one's language and voter rights more broadly through multilanguage materials, in partnership with the LAAC, partner organizations, and ethnic media. Earlier this year, an educational PSA that the CEC developed with LAAC assistance won an Anthem Award.

To learn about CEC's voter interpretation services in the April Presidential Primary, visit the Election Center page.