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House Votes For Bilingual Ballot And Language Assistance

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As I reported a few days ago an amendment was brought up by Iowa Republican Steve King to get rid of bilingual ballots and translation assistance from the Voter Rights Bill that was up for a 25 year reauthorization.

The argument surrounding bilingual ballots is that only US Citizens are allowed to vote and if you were born here you should know how to speak English and if you are a naturalized citizen one of the requirements are that you read and speak English. There should be no need for there to be ballots in languages other than English.

King's amendment was defeated by a vote of 26-9, handing down a defeat to the American people and the continued action of trying to make it easier for unauthorized voters -- and voter fraud in general -- to continue.


The House Judiciary Committee rejected the effort.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said voting in English should pose no problem for any U.S. citizen.

"If you are born in America, you should know English," he said. "If you are a naturalized citizen, you should have passed an English proficiency test."

The committee voted 26-9 against amending the law


Later, the committee voted 33-1 to extend the law, due to expire next year, for 25 more years. Only Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who offered the amendment to strike the bilingual ballots, voted against it.

Republicans voted 11-9 against King's amendment. Democrats opposed it unanimously.

Hmm, which party do you think wants voter fraud to continue? The Republicans -- who narrowly voted against the amendment -- or the Democrats who voted unanimously against it?

There is absolutely no reason for this requirement and it is just another showing of how our "leaders" in Washington are totally out of touch with the American people.

Tipped by: Daily Pundit

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Posted by Digger on May 11, 2006 04:00 AM (Permalink)

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Answer: Both.

Nowe here's a novel concept that can only benefit American citizens: Get rid of the 2-party system.

Chant it over and over: "Choice, Choice, Choice!"

Posted by: Robert on May 11, 2006 01:02 PM

Spanish is the native language of 30 million Americans. 19% of them speak only Spanish. That's 6 million legal voters with every right you have. 55% of the 30 million have limited English proficiency. Have you ever had trouble understanding the way those ballot initiatives are worded? Could you imagine making reasoned decisions on them if your language proficiency was only enough to get by day-to-day in a second language. Come off it! You live in a country where a lot of people don't speak the language you do. Sorry to be so reality-based, but there's no language test for citizenship and there never really could be in a country as large and diverse as ours.


Posted by: peter on May 11, 2006 04:27 PM

Sorry to be so reality-based, but there's no language test for citizenship and there never really could be in a country as large and diverse as ours.

Sorry to be so reality-based, but for naturalized citizens there is an English language test before you can become a citizen.

As for the millions of citizens who don't speak English at all, let me make a guess as to where they came from. Can you say anchor babies?

Just another reason to change the 14th amendment to be absolutely clear that just because you cross the border illegally and drop a kid on our soil doesn't mean that kid is a US citizen.

With the current state we have US citizens that can't speak English because their parents aren't supposed to be here and don't wish to assimilate even if they were legal.

I don't know too many legal residents who want their kids to grow up in America and force them not to learn English.

Oh and another thing, ditch ESL classes in the education system and stop giving a crutch to these kids so they can enjoy a free ride all through school without learning English because they don't feel they need to.

Should I go on...?

Posted by: Digger on May 11, 2006 10:45 PM

A few quick points. First, yes, you need to pass a language test for naturalization, but it is designed to test basic profiency, not fluency. You can see a sample list of the kinds of sentences tested here: http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/natz/natzsamp.htm

Second, ballots can involve quite complex language, particularly if there are voter initiatives involved. An Iowa ballot from the 2004 election is here: http://www.scottcountyiowa.com/auditor/pub/sample_ballots/2004/20041102_General_Election_Sample_Ballots.pdf

Surely, denying assistance to those who don't speak English well enough to understand the bizarre legalese of some ballots violates a basic principle of fairness. Remember, the illiterate are allowed to vote and have the right to assistance. Heck, 41% of people identified as "mentally impaired" voted in 2000, and they are entitled to assistance. (Insert joke here).

If states want to pass English-only legislation, ditch ESL or do anything else to help increase the number of people who learn English, that's fine. This seems a bad and unfair way of making the point, though.

On your last point, the vast majority of second-generation immigrants learn English, so the translation/voting problem would mostly be for their naturalized parents. (The numbers from one big study show that while 9 of 10 speak a language other than English at home, by high school 88% prefer English.) This doesn't mean that more can't be done, of course, but the problem of people who don't speak English basically just lasts one generation.

Posted by: tomchaps on May 12, 2006 08:09 PM

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