MANCHESTER — A mayoral advisory council has asked state election officials to translate the complicated paperwork involving absentee ballots into several languages.
In a letter dated Sept. 9, the Mayor’s Multicultural Advisory Council said absentee ballot registration and voting are complicated for new Americans.
“Although all naturalized citizens have demonstrated that they speak a reasonable level of English, the English materials for this situation are more complicated and difficult to understand,” reads a letter sent to Secretary of State Bill Gardner.
Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said federal law has certain benchmarks that require translations of election materials, but Manchester has not hit those. He said his office would be happy to check the accuracy of any materials produced by a private or volunteer organization.
He said the Manchester city clerk could also produce such materials.
The Multicultural Advisory Council asked that material be translated into French, Nepali, Swahili, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese and Bosnian.
The organization also requested drop boxes for completed absentee ballots outside of City Hall outside of normal working hours. State law requires that drop boxes be manned and people identified when dropping off ballots.
Drop boxes would allow voters to drop off their ballots without the risk of contracting COVID-19, the 12-member council wrote.