Sullivan County, NY - Chasidic Plaintiffs Win Yiddish Ballots, Federal Monitor And Compensation In Bloomingburg Lawsuit Settlement
Sullivan County, NY - The good news keeps on coming for Bloomingburg’s Jewish community, with Chasidic plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit agreeing to a settlement with Sullivan County that would provide greater protection against religious discrimination and the appointment of a federal monitor to ensure that residents’ constitutional right to vote not be denied or unfairly challenged as it has in the past.
As previously reported on VIN News, over two dozen Chasidic residents of Bloomingburg sued the Sullivan County Board of Elections and two of its commissioners, Ann Prusinski and the late Rodney Gaebel in federal court, saying that the pair violated New York State election laws when they attempted to prevent many of the village’s Chasidic voters from casting their ballots.
Prusinski was also found to have collaborated closely with the Rural Community Coalition, which tried to prevent Chasidic Jews from settling in Bloomingburg, and to have encouraged members of the RCC to challenge Chasidic resident Aaron Rabiner’s petition in his successful bid for the position of village trustee last March.
A settlement reached today by all parties involved calls for federal supervision of the Sullivan County Board of Elections, with a monitor appointed within the next three weeks to supervise the voter registration process in Bloomingburg over a five year period and to mediate any future voter registration challenges that may arise.
The settlement also prohibits Sullivan County from engaging in or promoting any form of religious discrimination or depriving any legally registered voters of their right to vote. Sullivan County will be required to provide Yiddish language election materials at all Bloomingburg polling places as of April, 2016, including Yiddish signs informing voters of their right to vote in accordance with state law and outlining procedures to follow should their right to vote be challenged.
In addition, Sullivan County agreed to a $25,000 payment to the plaintiffs as compensation for having had to bring the lawsuit as well as $550,000 in legal fees.
“We are very pleased with the settlements,” Michael Fragin of Bloomingburg’s Jewish Community Council told VIN News. “It is unfortunate that voters had to resort to court in order to be eligible to vote and this will settle any issues going forward. We believe that justice has been served.”
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