Gwinnett County Ordered to Provide Voter Materials in Spanish / El Condado de Gwinnett Ordenó Proporcionar Materiales para Votantes en Español

The Census Bureau has determined that Gwinnett County has a sufficient Spanish speaking population to require that voter information be provided in Spanish under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. Gwinnett was the only Georgia jurisdiction named in a Notice of Determination published today in the Federal Register by the Department of Commerce. A political subdivision is covered under Section 203 when 5% of its population are voting age citizens who speak a non-English language, have a depressed literacy rate, and do not speak English well.

Section 203 provides that

“Whenever any State or political subdivision [covered by the section] provides registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, it shall provide them in the language of the applicable minority group as well as in the English language.”

Section 203 covers all elections, whether federal, state, or local. The new requirements go into effect immediately.

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Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Be careful for what we wish for. The founders idea was to promote immigration to improve the nation’s well being through assimilation and reject those unwilling. But doubt they would make it a requirement but a choice. Nor would they reward those holding fast. The nation was and is better served with those that communicate in multiple languages. It is also a fact now and will be for decades to come that those that cannot communicate adequately in English will not participate as well as those who can. Don’t care if we provide voter info in languages other than English,… Read more »

Chet Martin
Chet Martin

I have never understood, and would really like to understand, how someone becomes an American citizen without sufficient English to navigate a voting booth. I’m not denying they’re citizens; this is not paranoia. But how does one either 1) be born and presumably raised in the United States or 2) become a naturalized citizen without some basic English literacy?

PM
PM

Obviously, through government.

David C
David C

One can have basic English literacy and still get confused in various ways by stuff in the polling booth. A friend of mine showed me his sample NY ballot, which has a kind of fusion voting system. (So Clinton was the Democratic Party, Working Families Party, and Women’s Rights Party candidate, Trump the Republican Party and Conservative Party candidate, and so on). So the candidates appear on there 2 to 3 times, which can be confusing as heck to the uninitiated. There was also a setup where you had 10 different judges on the ballot, and had to vote for… Read more »

Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

I received some insight into exactly this when I asked someone who immigrated to the US. He was working in a manufacturing plant that I managed. Struck up a conversation with him about his life in Colombia. He was a marketing sales manager for a consumer company there. Things got bad for his family there as a result of war so he left and came here. At the time he didnt speak much English so he looked for jobs that did not require him to be fluent. Hence the manufacturing plant. And as years went by, he learned English in… Read more »

Ellynn
Ellynn

Based on the wording of some of the amendments in the last decade, I’m not sure if I’m sufficient enough in English to navigate a voting booth. Additionally, most people learn to think in their first language. I have a coworker who was born in Brazil, came here at 13, took the test and became a citizen at 19. Now 34, they still write their personal notes and design diagrams in Portuguese when working out a problem then converts then to English for job file. Some slang and regional words are confusing, and things we would find universal from childhood… Read more »

Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

I still think in Yoruba from time to time. Even though I grew up learning both languages simultaneously.

I cannot imagine how hard it is for someone who learns a second language as an adult.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

I took some Spanish at a local college, the teacher was from Peru, she threatened all of us that if we practiced with local labor and came in speaking uneducated slang it would not end well. 😎😎

She spoke perfect English……probably never fully appreciated Grizzard or Foxworthy.

gcp
gcp

Perhaps these non English speaking voters/citizens should get a sample ballot prior to election so they could study and interpret the ballot before voting.