Navigate to News section

Hasidic Residents in Bloomingburg, NY, Will Soon Be Able to Cast Ballots in Yiddish

The change comes as part of a larger settlement between the Sullivan County Board of Elections and a group of Hasidic residents of Bloomingburg, who had alleged discrimination and voter disenfranchisement

Rose Kaplan
February 09, 2016

A group of Hasidic residents of Bloomingburg, New York, have settled with the Sullivan County Board of Elections after filing suit last March, in which the plaintiffs claimed anti-Semitic discrimination and voter disenfranchisement. The Board of Elections were accused of trying to “cancel about 160 Hasidic voter registrations,” reported the New York Post, and “engaging in an unyielding discriminatory campaign to deprive Hasidic Jewish residents…of the fundamental right to vote,” the Manhattan federal lawsuit stated.

Interestingly, according to the terms of the settlement, which calls for the five-year appointment of a federal elections monitor, Bloomingburg residents will soon be able to cast ballots in Yiddish, reported the New York Jewish Voice. The county must create Yiddish-language election materials at all Bloomingburg polling places by April 2016. (The website for the BOE currently provides voter registration forms in English and Spanish.)

Following the announcement of the settlement, Sullivan County Board of Elections Commissioner Ann Prusinski announced her resignation from the Board of Elections. A representative for the Board of Elections declined to comment for this article.

The settlement also requires that the county pay $550,000 in legal fees and $25,000 to the plaintiffs.

The ruling is the latest development in what continues to be a tense relationship between Sullivan County Hasidic and non-Jewish residents, as Hasidim continue to move to the area; multiple other discrimination lawsuits are pending between local Jewish developer Shalom Lamm and towns in the county including Bloomingburg and Mamakating, as the Shawangunk Journal reported last Thursday.

Rose Kaplan is an intern at Tablet.

Become a Member of Tablet

Get access to exclusive conversations, our custom app, and special perks from our favorite Jewish artists, creators, and businesses. You’ll not only join our community of editors, writers, and friends—you’ll be helping us rebuild this broken world.