As our population continues to diversify, it becomes even more important to ensure that all people in the United States have equal access to participating in the democratic process. The next election continues to draw near, and planning your translation projects to create multilingual ballots should be top-of-mind. Offering these ballots provides your Limited English Proficient (LEP) constituents with many benefits including, but not limited to, access to the democratic process.

The Voting Rights Act and multilingual ballots

To maintain your regulatory compliance, it is necessary that you provide minority language ballots in addition to English language ballots. The language from the Voting Rights Act states that: “all election information that is available in English must also be available in the minority language so that all citizens will have an effective opportunity to register, learn the details of the elections, and cast a free and effective ballot.”

The Voting Rights Act is in place to ensure that all LEP constituents in your area can effectively partake in the democratic process. While it only requires translation of your documents into specific threshold languages, many counties choose to expand the number of languages they translate their elections documents into. If you have growing language communities in your county, you may want to translate your documents into those languages as well to increase voting accessibility and voter turnout.

Multilingual ballots beyond the regulations

Beyond the regulations put in place by the Voting Rights Act, there are many other benefits to multilingual ballots and other translated elections documents. If you’ve been looking for a way to increase voter turnout among your LEP populations, translating the signage at your polling center, voter information guides, and other polling information can support that goal. Additionally, employing bilingual workers at your polling place can help your LEP constituents to feel more comfortable asking questions and participating in the democratic process. Language in an of itself is a tie to community and culture. Translating your elections documents allows LEP constituents in your area to feel more connected to the government that serves them, increasing participation rates in the election.

Above all else, translating your election materials creates opportunity. The hallmark of a democratic process is that it allows all to participate in an open and free election, regardless of their conditions and as long as they are above the legal voting age. Providing multilingual ballots and other translated election materials supports this opportunity and can create a feeling of acceptance in your district and across the country. We can help you get started on your next election translation project. Give us a call at 530-750-2040, or request a free quote today.

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