Language Justice Committee
LANGUAGE JUSTICE IS KEY TO A WORKING DEMOCRACY
Free and fair elections are a core tenet of our democracy. Yet for new citizens or native citizens whose first language is not English, the voting process may sometimes be difficult to maneuver. Without language assistance, many may simply decide to bypass the whole process. Language assistance ensures all voters can vote effectively and independently.
In 2021, Building Back Together launched a Language Justice Committee to ensure every voter has access to election information and materials in the language they understand.
LANGUAGE BARRIERS DISENFRANCHISE VOTERS
The Voting Rights Act requires counties to provide language assistance when more than 10,000 citizens or over 5 percent of the total voting age population are part of a single language group and speak limited English Despite this, many jurisdictions fail to provide translated voting materials — including voter registration forms, ballots, websites, and more — into the language spoken by local communities in covered jurisdictions.
HOW WE’RE FIGHTING BACK
In December 2021, the Census Bureau identified the counties that are required to provide language assistance to voters for the next five years. The Language Justice Committee will continue to work at the national level and local level to conduct outreach to election administrators notifying them of the new language requirements they will be subject to and serve as a resource to ensure election materials are made available in the language voters understand.
The Language Justice Committee will offer counties complimentary assistance in designing the implementation of an effective language assistance program with a focus on translations, community engagement, poll workers, and ballot design. Our goal is to ensure that all eligible individuals, regardless of language, are able to exercise their freedom to vote.