[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Nearly 35 percent of Texas residents speak a primary language other than English at home and the number of non-English speakers across the state continues to rise. Election officials are required to provide bilingual election materials to limited English proficient (LEP) voters, including ballots, applications for early voting, voter affidavit forms, and some types of instructional posters.
That’s a lot to tackle but it’s critical to provide LEP residents with election materials they can read in their own language in order to make informed decisions during the 2016 election season. Let’s take a look at what’s involved.
Deep in the heart of Texas
Before an election translation project can get underway, it’s important to understand the landscape. As the second largest state in the US, Texas is home to:
- 254 counties
- 27.5 million residents
- 14 million registered voters
- 9.7 million Hispanics
- 3.4 million LEP individuals
Texas relies on three different voting methods during election season: paper ballots, optical scan, and a Direct Record Electronic system that allows voters to select their choices on a touch screen or dial-driven device. In addition to translated voting materials, LEP voters may also use an interpreter to communicate with election officials.
Services for limited English speaking voters don’t stop there. “Election judges must make reasonable efforts to hire bilingual election clerks, depending on the language needs of the precinct.” notes the State Bar of Texas.
Bringing counties and voters together
It takes a lot of planning and preparation to build a bridge between a county and its LEP voters. Election translation projects can take up to three months to complete, depending on the volume and number of languages involved. Adding to the challenge, each county has their own unique requirements and needs so care must be taken to provide translations in accordance with the target audience the materials are meant to reach.
For an overview of how elections translation works, take a look at our process insight paper. Be sure to also download an informative case study to learn how Avantpage delivered 100 Spanish-translation files to three California counties in just 48 hours.
Although the election season is in full swing, there’s still time to line up a qualified and certified language services provider for your election translation project. Get in touch with Avantpage today.
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