Responding to a lack of voter information in Russian, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York has for the first time published an election guide in that language.
The guide contains statements submitted by candidates for City Council in 10 districts, borough president of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and the citywide races. It also features information on finding polling places and how to operate the computerized balloting system that will be used in the Nov. 5th election, replacing the antiquated machines used in the primary.
“We looked at where the Russians live and identified the top 10 districts where Russians live according to the census,” said JCRC associate executive director David Pollock.
The JCRC noted that a provision of the Voting Rights Act requires the city to provide assistance to voters in the top six languages spoken in the city, but money has never been allocated for that purpose.
“Over the years JCRC-NY encouraged émigrés from the FSU to become citizens and helped to inform and encourage them to become active participants and voters,” said executive vice president Michael Miller. “We welcome the fact that in 2013, more Russian-speakers are candidates than ever before and that political experts pay increased attention to the Russian vote.”
The Russian vote in south Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay has been estimated at 30,000 strong. Russian-speaking Candidates for City Council include Republican David Storobin, Alexander Litovsky of the Forward Brooklyn Party and Igor Oberman of the Working Families Party in Brooklyn. Alex Blishteyn is running as a Republican in Queens.
Gregory Davidzon, the politically powerful Russian-language radio host, recently announced an independent campaign for the Brooklyn City Council seat being vacated by Michael Nelson. Davidzon’s last-minute campaign is not only too late to get into the voter’s guide, but too late for inclusion on the ballot. He’s asking for write-in votes.