Language Assistance under the Voting Rights Act

Language Assistance under the Voting Rights Act : Are Voters Lost in Translation?

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This book examines the translation of minority language ballots and voter accommodation in state and local elections. It includes a focus on the translation of direct democracy measures as well as the cause and effect differences in the translated ballots, and offers insight into how jurisdictions interact with federally mandated language more

Product details

  • Hardback | 150 pages
  • 159 x 237 x 14mm | 345g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 11 black & white illustrations, 16 tables
  • 0739198092
  • 9780739198094

Review quote

This book raises a number of interesting questions about the extent and implementation of the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, including coverage as it relates to Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, and Native Alaskan populations. Reilly pulls together information from a variety of government and academic sources, as well as from interviews with bureaucrats and community members, to present a detailed overview of the history and effect of these provisions. Most powerful is her analysis of the extent and causes of differences in translations provided to voters, particularly in Spanish but with illustrative examples from other languages as well. While Spanish translations often result in ballot measure descriptions that are more easily read than their English counterparts, translations to other languages have sometimes made those measures indecipherable. Later chapters explore the causes of these sources of variation in translation quality and provide helpful tips for election officials and community activists hoping to improve language access for covered populations, such as the tendency of professional translators to use formal language, which can result in reduced readability. A dense volume packed with references and data. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections. CHOICE Dr. Reilly begins a conversation that is both vital in an applied policy sense, and also grounded in theoretical principals of political participation and policy implementation. Reilly points out that while the national government has created guidelines concerning translation of ballots and voting materials more generally, ultimately, state and local governments have control over implementation. How readable the translations are is key to meaningful political participation on the part of individuals with limited English proficiency. -- Martha Kropf, University of North Carolina, Charlotteshow more

About Shauna Reilly

Shauna Reilly is associate professor in political science at Northern Kentucky more

Table of contents

Chapter 1. Introduction to Ballot Accessibility and the Language Minority Provisions Chapter 2. Legal Framework of Minority Language Ballot Access Chapter 3. Minority Language Voters: A Demographic Study Chapter 4. Readability of Ballot Measures Chapter 5: Analysis of State and County Policies on Minority Language Ballots Chapter 6: Views of Political Actors Chapter 7: Conclusion and Policy Potentialshow more