A federal law requires translated voting ballots, but not in Arabic or Haitian Creole

Voting rights advocates are calling for an expansion of section 203 of the Voting Rights Act in order to require ballot translations for authorized voters of limited English proficiency who speak Arabic or Hatian Creole. A 1975 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act required certain parts of the United States, depending on their census data, to provide ballot translations in a variety of languages, but this did not apply to Arabic and Haitian-Creole. The current wording of section 203 only applies to languages spoken by “persons who are American Indian, Asian American, Alaskan Natives or of Spanish heritage.” Neither Haitian-Creole nor Arabic nor a number of other minority languages spoken at growing rates in the United States are currently categorized by the US government as falling under any of these protected categories.

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Image Credit: Dwight Burdette