By: Elizabeth Harte
A California appeals court ruled on November 5, 2019, that California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, improperly used the federal Voting Rights Act population requirement, instead of state law, to determine which language minorities required language services. His 2017 directive had restricted language assistance for “tens of thousands of California voters.” This ruling will bring language service access to those who speak languages like “Japanese, Hindi, Thai, Burmese, Urdu, Hmong and Punjabi” and will result in the recognition of eleven languages that California has not previously acknowledged. The ruling affects approximately 1,300 California precincts and grants “56,000 limited-English speaking California residents” assistance, like translated voting materials, that helps them participate in the democratic process.
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