In advance of the elections, volunteers from the political-organizing group Yalla Brooklyn filled out a sample ballot with their preferred candidates and posted a photo of it on Facebook and in WhatsApp groups. On the morning of the midterms, a handful of them stood in the rain outside a Bay Ridge supermarket, showing the photo to passersby. But, one volunteer laughed, everyone they encountered had already saved the picture to their phones.

“It’s a quick fix,” said Hassan, “but it’s not ideal.” Hassan was part of a small but dedicated cohort who worked all day Tuesday to fill in a gap left by city, state, and federal authorities: an absence of Arabic-language election materials and interpreters in this neighborhood with thousands of LEP voters.

“One of the biggest challenges is that it’s the community that ends up having to carry the burden of providing interpretation,” said Hassan. “We can’t do it from 6 am to 9 pm.”

Arabic-speaking LEP voters were grateful that activists had found creative solutions to the lack of language accommodation, but having their language on the ballot would be much better. This year, for the first time, the New York City Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs provided interpreters for six languages at 101 polling sites in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. But none were in Bay Ridge. The only pair of MOIA Arabic interpreters were stationed at a sleepy polling site in Sheepshead Bay, next to Coney Island. The state Board of Elections made them sit outside, across the street from the polling place, on a corner that most voters bypassed. Around midday, during a downpour, they were allowed to move inside.

Saadia, an Arabic-speaking LEP voter, brought her 32-year-old daughter, Fatima, to help her vote this year. Fatima, who is bilingual in Arabic and English, said she applied to be a poll worker but wasn’t selected, so the only person she was helping that day was her mother. It’s a task she’s used to, but it’s still a burden. “Any place I go, she goes,” Saadia said.

Majdamoon and Abdu Bose, a married couple, went to the polls together. Majdamoon said she didn’t vote on the ballot questions, one of which was a proposition to expand language access for LEP voters, explaining that her husband speaks better English. “It would be easier for everyone,” she said, if the elections included more languages. Many people, especially Yemeni Americans, avoid the polls because of difficulties with English. If Arabic were on the ballot, she said, switching to English, “everybody [would] come.”

Richard Beltran contributed reporting from Georgia.

This article was reported in collaboration with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, now known as Type Investigations.