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LA to add Armenian, Russian, Farsi to city ballots

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The City of Los Angeles will now provide election services in Armenian, Russian and Farsi, and the three languages could be on ballots by 2015. 

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who is the first Armenian-American to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council, recommended that election outreach and pollworker recruitment be done in Armenian for the city's 28,000 registered voters of Armenian descent. An amendment added Russian and Farsi to those recommendations. 

“We’re the city with the greatest diversity in this country. There are 92 languages spoken by the parents of LAUSD students at home," Krekorian said. "The third most commonly spoken language by those who are not perfectly fluent in English is Armenian, after Spanish and Korean.”

The City Clerk already provides election services in eight languages other than English: Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese, per a federal mandate. Local municipalities can voluntarily add other languages at their discretion. 

"This phenomenon is also practiced by some of our companion jurisdictions like Glendale and Burbank," said City Clerk June Lagmay. "They are not under federal mandate, but they have voluntarily added those languages as a service to their community," 

The City Clerk's Office estimates it will cost about $109,000 to provide outreach and recruitment in Armenian for the 2013 election. 

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