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House Looking To Drop Bilingual Ballots And Language Assistance From Voters Rights Bill

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I'm all for this proposal. 56 House Representatives are putting forth dropping bilingual ballots and language assistance from the voter rights bill that is coming up for reauthorization. First of all I believe that English should be declared the official language of the United States. Secondly, to become a citizen in this country -- and therefore be allowed to vote -- you must speak English.

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act the requirements to become a Citizen of the United States are:

  • a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States

  • residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing

  • an ability to read, write, and speak English

  • a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government

  • good moral character

  • attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution

  • favorable disposition toward the United States

So why on Earth would we need to provide ballots in languages other than English? If the requirements for citizenship and voting rights are that you must read, write and speak English then the real question is why this was included in the Voting Rights Act in the first place.

I'm all for assistance in reading the ballot or reading in general, but any American should see multilingual ballots as a direct affront to our citizenship requirements and the value of American citizenship in this country.

LA Times

The 56 lawmakers support the act, but say the language assistance to voters undermines national unity, increases the risk of election fraud, and puts an undue burden on state and local governments.

"We believe these ballot provisions encourage the linguistic division of our nation and contradict the 'melting pot' ideal that has made us the most successful multiethnic nation on Earth," the members said in a letter...


The Senate and House are to conduct committee hearings next week on reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), prime sponsor of letting the language assistance provision expire, plans to submit his proposal as an amendment in the House Judiciary Committee next week.

The article mentions that this will probably not be approved because some Republican representatives are worried that they'll lose the Hispanic vote. Way to look out for America's best interests.

King dismissed suggestions that his proposal could hurt the GOP among the nation's growing numbers of Latino voters.

"We're talking about public policy, and I would like to think the Hispanics in this country respect American values in the same way," said King, who has long backed efforts to make English the United States' official language.

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Posted by Digger on May 8, 2006 12:01 AM (Permalink)

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