<br /><br />Committee approves California senate bill requiring language translation of ballot initiatives and petitions<br /><br />
Providing ballot initiative petitions in the appropriate language will allow limited English proficient voters to become fully engaged in the democratic process.
Last week the California Assembly Elections Committee approved Senate Bill 1233 authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). The bill would require the California Attorney General to issue a title and summary for circulation of all ballot initiatives and petitions in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and Tagalog, which are all the languages covered by the Federal Voting Rights Act.
"Prior to signing a ballot initiative petition, voters should be fully informed. That is not possible if the petition is written in a language the voter does not speak or understand. Language appropriate ballot initiative petitions would empower voters with the information necessary to make an informed choice about signing a petition," said Senator Alex Padilla.
According to California Newswire, the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 mandates that a state or political subdivision provide language assistance to voters if more than five percent of voting age citizens are members of a single-language minority group and do not "speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process." Additionally, it protects the rights of Limited English Proficient (LEP) voters by providing language accessible election materials.
California Senate Bill 1233 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.