OVERVIEW:

The United States is a diverse land with a government selected by the votes of its citizens.
Federal law recognizes that many Americans rely heavily on languages other than English, and that they require information in minority languages in order to be informed voters and participate effectively in our representative democracy.


Many provisions of federal law protect the voting rights of minority language Americans.
Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act is the keystone. Congress has mandated minority language ballots in some jurisdictions since 1975, with the most recent changes in the method of determining which jurisdictions must provide minority language materials and information becoming law in 1992.


Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act:

When Congress amended the Voting Rights Act in 1975 by adding Section 203, it found that "through the use of various practices and procedures, citizens of language minorities have been effectively excluded from participation in the electoral process....The Congress declares that, in order to enforce the guarantees of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, it is necessary to eliminate such discrimination by prohibiting these practices." ..."Whenever any State or political subdivision [covered by the section] provides registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, it shall provide them in the language of the applicable minority group as well as in the English language.”  


What languages are covered under Section 203?

Section 203 targets those language minorities that have suffered a history of exclusion from the political process: Spanish, Asian, Native American, and Alaskan Native.... All information that is provided in English also must be provided in the minority language as well. This covers not only the ballot, but all election information - voter registration, candidate qualifying, polling place notices, sample ballots, instructional forms, voter information pamphlets, and absentee and regular ballots - from details about voter registration through the actual casting of the ballot, and the questions that regularly come up in the polling place.         

Source: Excerpts from https://www.justice.gov/crt/minority-language-citizens


Need more information? 
Click below for Digital Resources:


Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/crt/minority-language-citizens  or

https://search.justice.gov/search?query=section+203&op=Search&affiliate=justice


US Census Bureau: 2016 Determinations for Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act
https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-205.html


Harris County Language Assistance Program: 
http://www.harriscountytx.gov/CmpDocuments/103/PDF/Limited_English_Proficiency_Plan_for_Harris_County_Community_Services_Department_revised_090914.pdf


City of Houston’s iSpeak Language Access Plan for Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic & Urdu:
http://www.houstontx.gov/ispeakhouston/dlap/Planning.pdf


Harris County Adds Chinese Language To Voting Materials: 
https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2011/10/13/30496/harris-county-adds-chinese-language-to-voting-materials/

 

Municipal Utility District
Language Access Compliance Initiative Resources

Lorenza Phillips Butler, Jr., Publisher Freedmen’s Publishing Company   |   832-880-3733 
Kijana Wiseman, M.Ed, , Owner, The Wiseman Company   |  832-800-4353   

www.freedmenspublishing.com    |   www.wisemancompany.com


Email Butler / Wiseman

OPEN / DOWNLOAD THE FOLLOWING COMPLIANCE RATE INFORMATION.
This packet will help your organization address Asian Newspaper and Television
advertising  in the Houston/Galveston/Missouri City Metroplex...


Houston Metro Asian Media Outlets Fees and Order Forms.pdf