Bilingual Voting Ballots Ordered in 25 States

Publication: Associated Press

Author: Hope Yen


10/12/2011 - In the run-up to the 2012 elections, the federal government is ordering that 248 counties and other political jurisdictions provide bilingual ballots to Hispanics and other minorities who speak little or no English.

That number is down from a decade ago following the 2000 census, which covered 296 counties in 30 states. In all, more than 1 in 18 jurisdictions must now provide foreign-language assistance in pre-election publicity, voter registration, early voting and absentee applications as well as Election Day balloting.

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Localities have struggled in the past with compliance, since they are left to figure out the best ways to provide bilingual materials at a reasonable cost. Shortly before the Voting Rights provisions were reauthorized in 2006, a Pew Center on the States study found that elected officials often would "ponder the impact of implementing — or in some cases sidestepping — the federal requirements."

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