Will Gwinnett and Hall Counties Provide Voting Materials in Spanish?

If the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials and advocacy group LatinoJustice have their way, then yes.

A report in The AJC says their cases rests on their reading of a provision of the Voting Rights Act. 

Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO’s executive director, said providing Spanish-language ballots would make it easier for many people to vote.

“It’s about enforcing the Voting Rights Act and ensuring voters – U.S. citizens – have access to voting, to the full extent that the Voting Rights Act provides,” Gonzalez said.

We don’t have an official language in the U.S. so I can’t get too terribly wrapped up about what language our voting materials are in. I can’t see why doing something that isn’t illegal and creates a more level playing field for all Americans to exercise their right to full democratic participation is a bad thing.

Oh, right. Democrats might get elected.

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BenevolusDixieCheetomongerSally ForthJon RichardsJean Recent comment authors
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xdog
xdog

And if Hall County Latinos ever get organized, a lot of Democrats might get elected.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Anyone communicating only in a language foreign to the country they live in probably won’t enjoy the full benefits in the secular world of making a living.

Those that support middle man communication benefit from keeping them second class citizens by “representing” them.

Lawton Sack
Lawton Sack

I am all for ballot access, both for voters and candidates. However, I have a very serious question: Would this necessitate a Spanish speaking person to be on-site for both early voting and for each poll location?

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Heck Lawton most of us can’t translate into straight English what the typical obfuscated topic really means – 🙂

Jon Richards
Jon Richards

And that’s the problem. Programming Spanish instruction screens is easy, and frankly, could be done statewide for about the same cost as doing it in Hall and Gwinnett. Having people on site is expensive–and there’s no guarantee that elections officials could find enough of them to man each of Gwinnett’s 156 precincts and eight (I think) early voting locations.

Jean
Jean

Let’s say we decided we want to do this. How would it be done? Which languages – how many? For the voting itself, I wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to offer a screen at the beginning for people to select their language and then have the information presented in whatever language they choose. Most things (except the amendments) would be a “one-time” translation — the names would change year over year but they would be the same for all languages anyway. For the initial registration paper … hmmm …. not sure of a good way to handle multiple… Read more »

Sally Forth
Sally Forth

Good points, Jean. What languages and how many? What happened to that “one nation” thing? And how many foreign nationals have been through the immigration and naturalization process, have taken the oath of citizenship and earned the right to vote — yet still do not know how to speak English? That doesn’t seem likely. Naturalized citizens are probably bilingual, able to read the Constitution and American history basics that have been required in the citizenship process. I read the full article and it only showed total Latino numbers, not how many are adults nor how many are actually US citizens… Read more »

The Dixie Cheetomonger
The Dixie Cheetomonger

The naturalization test is also given in foreign languages.

Benevolus
Benevolus

– “Anyone communicating only in a language foreign to the country they live in”. It’s not really like that. Most of the folks we are talking about will speak some English, maybe just not very well. And if they have the right to vote, and we can make a small effort to help them understand the details, why not? If having Spanish speaking people on site is a problem, then no, we don’t do it. End of problem. Jean- One more language- Spanish. Not too complicated. Don’t make it harder than it is. Many states already do this. It is… Read more »