Segment 2 Of 2 Previous Hearing Segment(1)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 VOTING RIGHTS ACT: SECTION 203
BILINGUAL ELECTION REQUIREMENTS
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2005
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:05 a.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Steve Chabot (Chair of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. CHABOT. The Committee will come back to order.
I, first of all, want to apologize again to our witness panel for being interfered with by the votes on the floor, which of course occurs periodically around here, but since we had two hearings on the Voting Rights Act scheduled yesterday, and the first one pushed into the second one, it made things, unfortunately, a little more awkward than they otherwise would have been. And I want to also indicate again that we had essentially come up with a procedure where we would submit questions in writing. The panel was gracious enough to be willing to come back and testify again today. I expect other members of the panel to arrive here shortly.
We only have this room until 10 o'clock because there is already a previously scheduled hearing on the Subcommittee on Crime, and it is at 10 o'clock.
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When we ended yesterday, Ms. Johnson had already given her opening statement. We will now go to the other members of the witness panel who have already been sworn in. We had already waived opening statements up here and agreed, because of the shortness of time, that we would go immediately to questions after the statements. So without objection, we will continue that.
And at this point, Mr. McAlpin, I will go to you for your opening statement. And again, it is a 5-minute opening statement. Thank you.
TESTIMONY OF K.C. McALPIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROENGLISH
Mr. MCALPIN. Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to present our views on renewing the bilingual ballot provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
ProEnglish is a national organization whose mission is to defend English as the common language of our country and to make it the official language at all levels of government.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your leadership in the struggle to make English our official language, a position endorsed by 79 percent of voters and 81 percent of immigrants, according to the most recent poll.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Bilingual ballots are a costly, unfunded mandate that function like a tax on English-speaking Americans. Two separate General Accounting Office reports to Congress found solid evidence that in most jurisdictions covered by sections 203 and 4(f)(4), bilingual ballots are hardly used, and where they are used, their use scarcely justifies the cost and effort needed to provide them.
In my written testimony, which I ask that you include in the official Committee record, I give a number of reasons why we think the bilingual ballot, provisions of the Voting Rights Act should not be reauthorized, but in the time I have, I want to focus on four.
First, the rationale for providing bilingual ballots is no longer valid. The reasons that persuaded Congress to add bilingual ballot provisions to the Voting Rights Act 10 years after it was enacted had nothing to do with voting rights discrimination; rather, supporters told Congress that certain language minority groups had not had access to equal educational opportunities in this country. Those were Alaska Natives, American Indians and American citizens of Asian or Hispanic descent. Backers said this lack of opportunity had caused these groups' literacy rate to be below the national average, and argued that they needed help while the educational system caught up. This is why Congress intended bilingual ballots to be a temporary remedial measure.
Thirty years later the driving factor behind the literacy rate of the two largest of these groups, Asians and Hispanics, has little to do with educational opportunities in this country. I want to make a distinction between these two groups and American Indians and Alaskan Natives, which I discuss in my written testimony.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In 1975, the vast majority of our Hispanic and Asian citizens were Natives; today the situation has changed. Immigrants are now by far the biggest component in these groups and the dominant factor affecting their English literacy rates.
Recent studies suggest that the main reason for the elevated school drop-out rates among these groups is the lack of educational opportunities they experienced in their Native countries before emigrating. It is wrong to impose extraordinary election costs on American taxpayers because of the voluntary decisions of millions of people to move here, and we see no justification for continuing a remedy whose reason for being is completely out of date.
Second, bilingual ballots should not be necessary. For almost 100 years, immigrants have been required to know English in order to naturalize. This is appropriate for a country whose Constitution and founding documents were written in English, whose three branches of government operate almost completely in English, and whose political life is conducted almost entirely in the English language.
So why are we forcing States and counties to provide bilingual ballots for naturalized citizens who should be able to read and understand English? If people are circumventing the law and naturalizing without learning English, then it is their responsibility to deal with the consequences, not the responsibility of the American people.
Bilingual ballots are also an affront to millions of naturalized American citizens who emigrated to this country, played by the rules, and made great sacrifices to learn English.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Third, bilingual ballots and poll workers also increase the risk of election fraud. There is no doubt that language is an effective way to conceal illegal activity. From the Departments of Motor Vehicles in various States to the U.S. Prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, interpreters have been caught using language as a cover to break the law and even commit espionage. Bilingual voter outreach materials, voter registration forms, absentee ballots and the like all increase the risk that non-citizens will register and vote either accidentally or in deliberate violation of the law. In recent years there have been a growing number of cases in which noncitizens have been caught illegally registering and voting.
Mr. Chairman, bilingual ballots also undermine our national unity. We are in the midst of the largest and most diverse flow of immigration in our Nation's history. As the distinguished Chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and a former Member of this House, the late Barbara Jordan, said in testifying to Congress, quote, cultural and religious diversity does not pose a threat to the national interest as long as public policies ensure civic unity.
Removing incentives to learn English does not help ensure our civic unity; instead, such policies discourage assimilation and encourage the formation of linguistically isolated immigrant communities that are outside the mainstream of American life. The violence that has broken out in immigrant neighborhoods across France should be a wake-up call about the danger to a society when assimilation breaks down.
Now, for the record, I want to say emphatically that my organization supports the right of all citizens to vote, but the relatively few citizens who cannot understand English have the same remedies to help them vote that millions of English-speaking illiterates have; they can request an absentee ballot and get help to understand it, they can take a crib sheet or premarked paper ballot with them when they vote, and they have the right to take an interpreter into the poll with them. The law states any voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice. These are remedies available to non-English-speaking voters, regardless of whether they live in a covered jurisdiction and regardless of whether or not they happen to be members of one of the covered groups. They are more than adequate to protect the right of qualified voters who have difficulty reading and understanding English to cast a ballot.
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Finally, I want to say that requiring citizens to vote using ballots in English discriminates against no one on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin. No matter how you try, you cannot equate these terms with the language someone speaks. English is spoken as the first language by people of every race, every ethnicity and by dozens of national origins. English is the official language in 51 different nations, most of which are located in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. And there are countless examples of racial or ethnic groups as well as nations that speak many different languages.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to present our views.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. McAlpin follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF K.C. MCALPIN
[Note: Image(s) not available in this format. See PDF version of this file.]
Mr. CHABOT. Before we move to our next witness, I just wanted to recognize a distinguished gentleman that is with us here this morning, a former Member of the House of Representatives, Congressman John Buchanan from Alabama, who is a member of the National Commission on Voting Rights Act, and we welcome you, Representative Buchanan.
And now we will move to our next witness. Mr. Tucker, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
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TESTIMONY OF JAMES TUCKER, ATTORNEY, OGLETREE DEAKINS, P.C., ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, BARRETT HONORS COLLEGE AT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY, PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Mr. TUCKER. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for your invitation to testify on a matter of critical importance to all Americans, reauthorization of the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act that will expire in August of 2007. My comments will focus on sections 4(f)(4) and 203 of the act.
The language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act received strong bipartisan support each time Congress previously considered them in 1975, 1982 and 1992. The same holds true today, as members of both parties and the Subcommittee have recognized by addressing the continuing need for these two sections nearly 2 years before they expire.
I want to begin by briefly addressing the constitutionality of the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, since that issue came up on Tuesday. The reason no one has challenged these provisions is simple: The United States Supreme Court resolved the issue 39 years ago in Katzenbach v. Morgan when it upheld section 4(e) of the act. The State of New York argued that section 4(e) of the act was unconstitutional as applied to New York, which had passed an English language requirement for voting to give language minorities an incentive to learn English.
The Court rejected that assertion, finding that Congress may have, quote, questioned whether denial of a right being so precious and fundamental in our society was a necessary or appropriate means of encouraging persons to learn English or furthering the goal of an intelligent exercise of the franchise.
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Katzenbach upheld the language assistance provisions as the valid exercise of congressional enforcement powers under the 14th and 15th amendments, which the Court recognize give, quote, the same broad powers expressed in the necessary and proper clause.
In 1975, Congress relied upon section 4(e) as the foundation for sections 4(f)(4) and 203. Congress noted its constitutional exercise of its enforcement powers by expressly citing Katzenbach and the Court's decision in Meyer v. Nebraska, a 1923 case in which the Court struck down a prohibition on English in public schoolsI'm sorry, in languages other than English in public schools.
As the Supreme Court observed in Meyer, quote, ''the protection of the Constitution extends to all, to those who speak other languages as well as those born with English on the tongue.'' Congress agreed with this reasoning in enacting sections 4(f)(4) and 203.
Now I would like to discuss the extent to which previously covered jurisdictions have fulfilled the congressional intent in those two sections.
Congress previously commissioned GAO, in 1984 and in 1986, to examine this issue. The purpose of our study is to update the cost data collected by the two GAO studies and to determine the practice of public elections officials in providing oral and written language assistance. A total of 810 jurisdictions in 33 States were surveyed. Over half of all the jurisdictions in 31 States responded, making this the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Some critics have opposed section 203 because they believe it imposes high costs on local election officials. Their fears have not materialized. The costs of compliance were modest, if there are any costs at all. Of the jurisdictions reporting oral language assistance expenses, 59.1 percent report incurring no expense at all. Similarly, of the jurisdictions reporting written language material expenses, 54.2 percent do not incur any additional costs. Of the jurisdictions reporting complete election expenses, 39.5 percent do not incur any added cost for either oral or written language assistance.
Many covered jurisdictions report election practices that fall short of complying with the Voting Rights Act. The absence of bilingual oral language assistance in these jurisdictions can be a significant deterrent to limited English-proficient voters seeking to participate in elections. Sixty-nine responding jurisdictions do not report providing any assistance at all.
For instance, less than half of the respondents report providing assistance for telephone inquiries from voters in all of the covered languages. Significantly, 57.1 percent of the responding jurisdictions report they do not have one full-time worker fluent in the covered language. Only 38.2 percent report having a bilingual coordinator who speaks the covered language and acts as a liaison with the covered language groups. Only 37.3 percent report that they consult with community organizations or individuals from the covered language groups about providing election assistance in those languages.
Furthermore, even where jurisdictions provide the bilingual materials, many acknowledge not doing so for all materials. Most covered jurisdictions acknowledge they do not provide oral language assistance at all stages of the election process. Nearly two-thirds of responding jurisdictions do not require any confirmation of the language abilities of part-time poll workers who are supposed to be out there helping the voters. Two-thirds of the respondents reported that their poll worker training does not include information about the languages covered in the jurisdiction. Only 10.3 percent of the respondents reported voter assistance practices that are at least as protective as section 208. Despite falling short of what section 203 requiresand I see my time is expired, if I can have another minute to sum up.
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Mr. CHABOT. Without objection.
Mr. TUCKER. Most election officials report that they support the provision. One respondent described language assistance as, quote, ''common sense;'' others emphasize it as, quote, ''inclusivity'' and tendency to, quote, ''make voters feel more comfortable coming to the polls knowing that there is help if it is needed.'' One jurisdiction observes that, quote, ''language assistance is extremely important in ensuring the integrity of the U.S. Election process and the legitimacy of government outcomes.'' Many jurisdictions commend the Justice Department's enforcement efforts. As another respondent observes, quote, ''the Federal Government has done a lot to provide minority language assistance; much remains to be done.''
Our study's findings highlight the continuing need for language assistance. State and local election officials agree. Of the responding jurisdictions, 71.3 percent think that the Federal language assistance provision should remain in effect for public elections. For these reasons, I recommend in the strongest terms that the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act, including sections 4, 6, 8 and 203, be reauthorized.
Thank you very much for your attention. I will welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Tucker follows:]
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 PREPARED STATEMENT OF DR. JAMES THOMAS TUCKER
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for your invitation to testify on a matter of critical importance to all Americans: reauthorization of the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act that will expire in August 2007. My comments will focus on Section 203 of the Act. The language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act received strong bipartisan support each time Congress previously considered them in 1975, 1982, and 1992. As Senator Orrin Hatch observed during the 1992 hearings, ''[t]he right to vote is one of the most fundamental of human rights. Unless government assures access to the ballot box, citizenship is just an empty promise. Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, containing bilingual election requirements, is an integral part of our government's assurance that Americans do have such access.''(see footnote 3) Senator Hatch's observation is equally true today, as Members of both Parties and this Subcommittee have recognized by addressing the continuing need for Section 203 nearly two years before it expires.
I am an attorney in private practice in Phoenix, Arizona and an Adjunct Professor at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. I hold a Doctor of the Science of Laws (or S.J.D.) degree from the University of Pennsylvania. I previously worked as a senior trial attorney in the Justice Department's Voting Section, in which a substantial amount of my work focused on Section 203 enforcement. I also have a forthcoming article on Section 203 that will be provided to Members of the Subcommittee. I have teamed with Dr. Rodolfo Espino, a Professor in ASU's Department of Political Science who holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to co-direct a nationwide study of minority language assistance practices in public elections. Our research team includes ten extraordinary students in the Barrett Honors College, who have labored countless hours over the last eighteen months to produce the information I will discuss today.(see footnote 4) Our report will be released by the end of this year.
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Before discussing our study, I will outline the scope and requirements of the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act to place our findings into context. The provisions apply to four language groups: Alaskan Natives; American Indians; persons of Spanish Heritage; and Asian Americans.(see footnote 5) Each of these language groups includes several distinct languages and dialects.(see footnote 6)
[T]he category of Asian American includes persons who indicated their race as Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, or Korean. The category of American Indian includes persons who indicated their race as Indian (American) or who did not indicate a specific race category but reported the name of an Indian tribe. The population designated as Alaskan Native includes persons residing in Alaska who identified themselves as Aleut, Eskimo or American Indian. Persons of Spanish heritage are identified as (a) 'persons of Spanish language' in 42 States and the District of Columbia; (b) 'persons of Spanish language' as well as 'persons of Spanish surname' in Arizona, California, Colorado, Mew Mexico, and Texas; and (c) 'persons of Puerto Rican birth or parentage in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.' ''
S. REP. NO. 94295 at 24 n.14, reprinted in 1975 U.S.C.C.A.N. 79091 n.14 (quoting Letter from Meyer Zitter, Chief, Population Division, Bureau of the Census, to House Judiciary Committee, Apr. 29, 1975).
Jurisdictions are selected for coverage through two separate triggering formulas. Under Section 4(f)(4) of the Act, a jurisdiction is covered if three criteria are met as of November 1, 1972: (1) over five percent of voting age citizens were members of a single language group; (2) the jurisdiction used English-only election materials; and (3) less than fifty percent of voting age citizens were registered to vote or fewer than fifty percent voted in the 1972 Presidential election.(see footnote 7) This trigger covers jurisdictions that have experienced ''more serious problems'' of voting discrimination against language minority citizens.(see footnote 8)
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Jurisdictions covered under Section 4(f)(4) must provide assistance in the language triggering coverage and are subject to the Act's special provisions, including Section 5 preclearance, Section 6 federal examiner coverage, and Section 8 federal observer coverage. Section 4(f)(4) coverage applies in three states (Alaska for Alaskan Natives, and Arizona and Texas for Spanish Heritage) and nineteen counties or townships in six additional states.(see footnote 9)
Under Section 203 of the Act, a jurisdiction is covered if the Director of the Census determines that two criteria are met. First, the limited-English proficient citizens of voting age in a single language group: (a) number more than 10,000; (b) comprise more than five percent of all citizens of voting age; or (c) comprise more than five percent of all American Indians of a single language group residing on an Indian reservation. Second, the illiteracy rate of the language minority citizens must exceed the national illiteracy rate.(see footnote 10) A person is ''limited-English proficient'' (or LEP) if he or she speaks English ''less than very well'' and would need assistance to participate in the political process effectively.(see footnote 11)
The Director of the Census determines limited English proficiency based upon information included on the long form of the decennial census. The long form, however, is only received by approximately 17 percent of the total population. Those few who do receive the long form and speak a language other than English at home are asked to evaluate their own English proficiency. The form requests that they respond to a question inquiring how well they speak English by checking one of the four answers provided''very well,'' ''well,'' ''not well,'' or ''not at all.'' The Census Bureau has determined that most respondents over-estimate their English proficiency and therefore, those who answer other than ''very well'' are deemed LEP.
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H.R. REP. NO. 102655 at 8, reprinted in 1992 U.S.C.C.A.N. 772.
Jurisdictions that are covered under Section 203 of the Act must provide written materials and assistance in the covered language. Generally, written materials do not have to be provided for historically unwritten Alaskan Native or American Indian languages.(see footnote 12) After the most recent Census Department determinations on July 26, 2002, five states are covered in their entirety (Alaska for Alaskan Natives, and Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas for Spanish Heritage) and twenty-six states are partially covered in a total of twenty-nine languages.(see footnote 13) Language assistance must be provided under either Section 4(f)(4) or Section 203 in 505 jurisdictions, which includes all counties or parishes, and those townships or boroughs specifically identified for coverage.(see footnote 14)
There have been few studies examining how jurisdictions have actually implemented the Congressional mandate to provide language assistance in public elections. The General Accounting Office conducted studies in 1984 and 1997 to determine the costs associated with language materials and assistance under Section 203. The 1984 GAO study obtained information from 318 political subdivisions and nineteen state governments.(see footnote 15) The 1997 study reported data from 292 covered jurisdictions in 26 states.(see footnote 16) Both studies were limited somewhat by the inability of many responding jurisdictions to provide the costs of bilingual voting assistance. Our study encountered similar problems.(see footnote 17) Nevertheless, for those jurisdictions that reported complete expense data, the costs of compliance generally comprise only a small fraction of total election expenses. Congress relied upon the 1984 GAO report to extend Section 203 in 1992.
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The purpose of our study is to update the cost data collected by the two GAO studies and to determine the practices of public elections officials in providing oral and written language assistance. Our survey assesses the availability and quality of assistance in several different areas: the use of bilingual coordinators who act as liaisons between the election office and the covered language groups; recruitment and training of election day poll workers; telephonic assistance; oral language assistance at every stage of the election process; written language materials provided to limited-English proficient voters; outreach and publicity; and the ability of voters to receive assistance from the person of their choice. The survey concludes by asking about the respondent's views of reauthorization and the federal government's role in providing language assistance, and an open-ended question about the jurisdiction's experiences under Section 203.(see footnote 18)
A total of 810 jurisdictions in thirty-three states were surveyed. The surveyed jurisdictions include: all jurisdictions specifically identified by the Census Department under either Section 4(f)(4) or Section 203; all counties in the five states that are covered; all cities in covered jurisdictions that the 2000 Census reports as having 50,000 or more people; a handful of jurisdictions that no longer are covered as a result of the 2002 Census determinations; and the chief elections officer in each of the surveyed states. Jurisdictions were guaranteed anonymity to increase the likelihood that they would complete the survey. Over half of all surveyed jurisdictions responded. Complete responses were received from 361 jurisdictions in thirty-one states, making this the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted.(see footnote 19) The actual number of responses varies because some questions did not apply to all respondents and some respondents chose not to answer certain questions.
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Some critics have opposed Section 203 because they believe it imposes high costs on local election officials. Their fears have not materialized. The costs of compliance are modest if there are any costs at all. Of the 154 jurisdictions reporting oral language assistance expenses, 59.1 percent (91 jurisdictions) incur no extra costs.(see footnote 20) Similarly, of the 144 jurisdictions reporting written language material expenses, 54.2 percent (78 jurisdictions) do not incur any additional costs.(see footnote 21) Of the 158 jurisdictions reporting complete election expenses, 39.5 percent (60 jurisdictions) do not incur any added costs for either oral or written language assistance.(see footnote 22) Other jurisdictions provided narrative responses indicating no additional expenses for the following: twenty-three for oral language assistance; thirteen for written language materials; and six for both.
Respondents attribute the lack of additional costs to several factors. Many report hiring bilingual poll workers who are paid the same wages as other poll workers. Jurisdictions with Alaskan Native and American Indian voters report that bilingual materials are not provided because the covered languages are unwritten. Several jurisdictions providing bilingual written materials use election officials or community volunteers to translate materials, resulting in no additional costs. In many cases, printing costs do not increase as a result of having bilingual written materials. A number of jurisdictions in New Mexico and Texas report that state laws have language assistance requirements similar to Section 203, resulting in no additional cost for federal compliance.
Of the 154 jurisdictions reporting complete data for oral language assistance, the average cost is 4.9 percent of all election expenses. However, the top ten percent of respondents (16 jurisdictions) skew this result by reporting average costs of 34 percent. By contrast, the remaining 138 jurisdictions report average costs of only 1.5 percent.(see footnote 23) Two factors contribute to the disparate results. Some of the sixteen jurisdictions attribute all of their election expenses, including costs for hiring permanent staff and Election Day poll workers who have to be hired regardless of Section 203, to oral language assistance. Furthermore, these sixteen jurisdictions are less populated, with an average total population of 40,262 compared to an average total population of 170,439 in the remaining jurisdictions. When these factors are taken into consideration, our study reveals oral language costs close to the average of 2.9 percent originally reported by the GAO in 1984.(see footnote 24) The average cost of oral language assistance remains approximately the same, regardless of the percentage of voters who need language assistance.(see footnote 25)
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A similar pattern emerges for the cost of written language materials. Of the 144 jurisdictions reporting complete data for written materials, the average cost is 8.1 percent. Again, the top ten percent of all respondents skewed the results, with fifteen jurisdictions reporting average written costs of 51.8 percent. The remaining 129 jurisdictions report average written costs of only 3.0 percent.(see footnote 26) These disparate results occur for the same reasons as those reported for oral language assistance. The fifteen outlying jurisdictions have an average total population of 35,664 compared to an average total population of 180,529 for the other 129 jurisdictions. All of the outliers also attribute mostand in a few cases allof their total written costs to bilingual election materials. When these factors are taken into consideration, the average cost of providing written language materials is substantially below the 7.6 percent reported by the GAO in 1984.(see footnote 27)
Even where some costs are incurred, most jurisdictions report that they are negligible because they target language assistance to only those areas that require it. During the 1992 hearings, Congress described effective targeting as whether ''it is designed and implemented in a manner that ensures that all members of the language minority who need assistance, receive assistance.''(see footnote 28) Some jurisdictions have heeded these instructions to minimize their costs.
Many covered jurisdictions report election practices that fall short of complying with the Voting Rights Act. Of the jurisdictions responding to the survey, 80.6 percent (287 jurisdictions) report providing some type of language assistance to voters: 60.4 percent (215 jurisdictions) report providing both oral and written language assistance, 14 percent (50 jurisdictions) report only providing written language materials, and 6.2 percent (22 jurisdictions) report only providing oral language assistance.(see footnote 29)
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The 215 jurisdictions that report providing both oral and written language assistance include: 211 jurisdictions covered for Spanish Heritage, with an average Hispanic voting age population of 29.0 percent, of whom 39.0 percent are limited-English proficient; 16 jurisdictions covered for Asian-American languages, with an average voting age population of 13.8 percent, of whom 43.3 percent are limited-English proficient; and 26 jurisdictions covered for Alaskan Native or American Indian languages, with an average voting age population of 12.4 percent, of whom 20.5 percent are limited-English proficient.(see footnote 30)
Jurisdictions providing language assistance are more likely to be covered under Section 4(f)(4) or 203 in their own right than those that do not, which tend to be covered sub-jurisdictions such as counties or cities. There is no relationship between the jurisdiction's total population and whether that jurisdiction provides assistance.
The 50 jurisdictions that report providing only bilingual written materials(see footnote 31) generally have large numbers of limited-English proficient voters in one or more of the covered languages. This group includes 47 Spanish Heritage covered jurisdictions, which have an average Hispanic voting age population of 18.3 percent, of whom 45.4 percent are limited-English proficient. The 13 jurisdictions covered for Asian-American languages that provide only bilingual materials have higher percentages of Asian voting age population and LEP voters than the 16 Asian-American covered jurisdictions providing both oral and written language assistance. According to the 2000 Census, these 13 jurisdictions have an average Asian voting age population of 17.0 percent, of whom 44.6 percent are limited-English proficient. The average percentages of both Spanish Heritage and Asian-American voting age citizens in all 50 jurisdictions are high enough to require full compliance with Section 203.(see footnote 32) Moreover, the absence of bilingual oral language assistance in these jurisdictions can be a significant deterrent to LEP voters seeking to participate in elections.
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Of the 22 jurisdictions that report providing only oral language assistance, over two-thirds (15 jurisdictions) are covered for Alaskan Native and/or American Indian languages, which generally do not require written materials. These 15 jurisdictions have an average American Indian voting age population of 27.7 percent, of whom 15.0 percent are limited-English proficient. Only one out of the 63 respondents covered for Alaskan Native or American Indian languages (1.6 percent) report receiving voter requests for bilingual election materials. Jurisdictions providing only oral language assistance also include: 9 jurisdictions covered for Spanish Heritage, with an average Hispanic voting age population of 23.5 percent, of whom 37.2 percent are limited-English proficient; and 1 Asian-American covered jurisdiction, with an Asian voting age population of 7.6 percent, of whom 48.5 percent are limited-English proficient.(see footnote 33)
Sixty-nine responding jurisdictions (19.4 percent) do not report providing language assistance of any kind. Every covered language group is affected by the lack of assistance in these 69 jurisdictions: 41 are covered for Spanish Heritage, with an average Hispanic voting age population of 18.8 percent, of whom 39.4 percent are limited-English proficient; 19 are covered for Alaskan Native or American Indian languages, with an average Alaskan Native or American Indian voting age population of 17.4 percent, of whom 6.0 percent are limited-English proficient; and 7 are covered for Asian-American languages, with an average Asian voting age population of 13.8 percent, of whom 40.7 percent are limited-English proficient.(see footnote 34)
The failure of many jurisdictions to provide language assistance in the covered languages is attributable to the misperception of election officials about the need for assistance. The 271 respondents estimate that an average of 5.5 percent of their jurisdiction's voters requires oral language assistance in the covered language. However, according to the 2000 Census, the average number of limited-English proficient persons of voting age in these jurisdictions is actually double that number, or 10.9 percent. This divergence between perception and reality is the same regardless of how much language assistance the jurisdiction provides, if any.(see footnote 35)
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Less than half of the 326 respondents report providing assistance for telephone inquiries from voters in all of the covered languages: 39.0 percent (127 jurisdictions) provide assistance in all covered languages; 26.4 percent (86 jurisdictions) in some covered languages; and 34.7 percent (113 jurisdictions) in none of the covered languages.(see footnote 36) Jurisdictions with a higher percentage of limited-English proficient voters are more likely to provide telephone assistance in the covered languages. They incur minimal costs for doing so. Of the 116 jurisdictions providing telephonic language assistance that reported their costs, the average cost is only .6 percent of total election expenses.(see footnote 37) Seventy-four percent (86 jurisdictions) report incurring no costs at all. Many jurisdictions report that their low costs are attributed to their use of full-time election workers or volunteers who are fluent in the covered languages.
Significantly, 57.1 percent (192 jurisdictions) of the 336 responding jurisdictions report that they do not have at least one full-time worker fluent in the covered language.(see footnote 38) There is a strong positive relationship between the percentage of limited-English proficient voters and whether they employ bilingual full-time workers in the covered languages.
Even fewer jurisdictions report that they use bilingual coordinators. Bilingual coordinators act as a liaison between election officials and language minority groups, and are routinely required in consent decrees and judicial remedies for Section 203 violations. However, of the 338 responding jurisdictions, only 38.2 percent (129 jurisdictions) report having a bilingual coordinator who speaks a covered language.(see footnote 39)
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Department of Justice regulations require that covered jurisdictions have ''direct contact with language minority group organizations'' to ensure language assistance programs are effective.(see footnote 40) However, most covered jurisdictions do not do so. Of the 322 responding jurisdictions, only 37.3 percent (120 jurisdictions) report that they consult with community organizations or individuals from the covered language groups about providing election assistance in those languages.(see footnote 41)
Similarly, even where jurisdictions provide bilingual materials, many acknowledge not doing so for all election materials. Our study creates an index of eighteen types of written materials commonly used in elections. Of 284 respondents, two-thirds (189 jurisdictions) report that they translate more than half of all election materials.(see footnote 42) The jurisdiction's population has no relationship to whether bilingual materials are provided. Several jurisdictions separately acknowledge not translating election materials they are required to provide in the covered language, including candidate qualifying forms, election results, voter instructions, and even ballots. Some report that they will do so in the future. Other jurisdictions report they will not provide bilingual materials because of cost, the failure of vendors to offer translation services, technological issues, or the use of bilingual poll workers to translate materials for voters.
Most covered jurisdictions acknowledge that they do not provide oral language assistance at all stages of the election process. Our study creates an index of fourteen types of common election activities. Of the 328 respondents, only 32.9 percent (108 jurisdictions) report that they provide language assistance for more than half of all election activities.(see footnote 43) Jurisdictions that translate more than half of all election materials are more likely to provide oral language assistance for election activities than those translating less than half of all election materials. The absence of oral language assistance is inconsistent with federal guidelines, which provide that Section 203 ''should be broadly construed to apply to all stages of the electoral process, from voter registration through activities related to conducting elections, including for example the issuance . . . of notifications, announcements, or other informational materials concerning the opportunity to register . . . the time, places and subject matters of elections, and the absentee voting process.''(see footnote 44)
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Where oral language assistance is provided, it is impaired by the failure of most jurisdictions to ensure that bilingual election workers actually are fluent in the covered languages. Nearly two-thirds (210 jurisdictions) of the 324 responding jurisdictions do not require any confirmation of the language abilities of part-time poll workers.(see footnote 45)
Responding jurisdictions generally provide regular training for poll workers. However, two-thirds of the 328 respondents (217 jurisdictions) reported that their poll worker training does not include information on the languages covered in the jurisdiction. This number may be due to the lack of information included about language assistance in instructional videos, which are used by 63.8 percent (208 jurisdictions) of all respondents.(see footnote 46)
Poll worker training on voter assistance does not necessarily include accurate training on federal requirements. Section 208 of the Act, which applies nationwide, provides that ''[a]ny voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice,'' except for the voter's employer or union representative. Only 10.3 percent (27 jurisdictions) of the 263 respondents reported voter assistance practices that are at least as protective as Section 208: 1.9 percent (five jurisdictions) correctly stated the federal standard; and 8.4 percent (22 jurisdictions) permit voters to receive assistance from their person of choice, even if it falls into one of the two exceptions in Section 208. These voter assistance practices often are the result of jurisdictions complying with state laws that are more restrictive than Section 208 allows.
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Responding jurisdictions are candid in reporting their election practices. Their responses highlight the many challenges they face in removing language barriers in elections to voters. Some jurisdictions have done a commendable job in responding to these challenges. Nevertheless, other jurisdictions still have a long way to go.
Only twelve jurisdictions express opinions that elections should be conducted entirely in English. For example, one respondent notes, ''I do not think that it is our responsibility to provide different languages. I think everything should be in English only! That is their responsibility (voter). Go to Mexico or other countries you have to learn their language. You come here and we have to learn theirs. . . .''(see footnote 47) A few others criticize enforcement efforts by the Department of Justice.(see footnote 48)
However, a majority of jurisdictions reject these views. One respondent describes language assistance as ''common sense.''(see footnote 49) Others emphasize its ''inclusivity''(see footnote 50) and tendency to make ''voters feel comfortable coming to the polls knowing there is help there if needed.''(see footnote 51) One jurisdiction observes that ''language assistance is extremely important in ensuring the integrity of the U.S. Election process'' and the legitimacy of government outcomes.(see footnote 52) Another respondent explains, ''for the longest time I thought that if you live in the USA, you should learn English. It is very difficult to help someone who doesn't speak the language. My husband hunts in Mexico and the few times I went with him I felt helpless because I didn't understand Spanish. It is very overwhelming when you need assistance and can't get it because of the language barrier.''(see footnote 53) These concerns cause some jurisdictions to suggest that Congress should ''broaden the requirements.''(see footnote 54)
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Many jurisdictions specifically commend the Justice Department's enforcement efforts. Some ask the federal government to ''[h]elp us come up with the means of getting rid of the 'this is America, English only' attitude of many people out there, both voters and election board workers.''(see footnote 55) Others request that the Department do even more to ''enforce existing rules.''(see footnote 56) One jurisdiction requests that voter assistance requirements also ''should be enhanced to let citizens with limited English skills to bring friend or family to help or they should be encouraged to vote absentee.''(see footnote 57) As another respondent observes, ''the federal government has done a lot to provide minority language assistance.''(see footnote 58) Much remains to be done.
Our study's findings highlight the continuing need for language assistance. State and local election officials agree. An overwhelming majority of the 254 responding jurisdictions, 71.3 percent (181 jurisdictions) think that the federal language assistance provisions should remain in effect for public elections.(see footnote 59) For these reasons, I recommend in the strongest terms that the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act, including Sections 4, 6, 8, and 203, be reauthorized. Thank you very much for your attention. I will welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.
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Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Cartagena, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
TESTIMONY OF JUAN CARTAGENA, GENERAL COUNSEL, COMMUNITY SERVICE SOCIETY
Mr. CARTAGENA. Thank you. Good morning. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you very much for inviting me here to share our observations from the Community Service Society on the reauthorization of certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
My name is Juan Cartagena. I am general counsel to the CSS and a voting rights attorney since 1981, as soon as I came out of school, that is. And I have been using the Voting Rights Act and its promises of equal opportunity and full political access to serve underserved communities in a number of States and neighborhoods, especially racial and language minorities.
CSS is an independent organization in New York City that uses research, advocacy, volunteerism, and direct service to address issues of poverty and strengthen community life for all. I direct a small public interest litigation unit that serves to supplement its advocacy work. And since 1989, CSS has been using the Voting Rights Act and other legal means to ensure full and fair representation of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
My focus of my testimony that you have, I hope, in your hands, and also of my remarks today, is essentially on the concerns of the Latino communities in New York City, with particular emphasis on the voting rights of Puerto Rican citizens, but inasmuch as I've done quite a bit of work in litigation while in New Jersey, some of my testimony is related to that State as well.
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CSS's position in this issue is pretty clear. We have many, many years of doing street registration in poor communities, and of mounting legal challenges to institutional barriers to control political participation. And we strongly support bilingual voting assistance provisions that are a valid and efficient use and policy that promotes democracy. And there are numerous good reasons why the bilingual assistance provision 203 allow language minority citizens an equal opportunity to participate in the process, I will summarize some of them right now for you.
In our view, section 203 is still viable and necessary in 2005 because the full participation of Latino-language minority citizens has yet to be achieved. Equally important, we have needed aggressive enforcement activity from both the Department of Justice and private attorneys general in both States, New York and New Jersey. As a result, in our opinion, the Latino community has yet to reap the full benefits that Congress promised them 15 years ago in the recent amendment and even back further.
About 75 percent of Latinos in this country speak a language other than English at home. That is much higher than the national average of 18 percent. About 41 percent of Latinos in this country speak English less than very well, which is a measure used by the Census Bureau to certify 203 jurisdictions. And about 23 percent, almost a quarter, do not speak English at all. In New York City, the portion of individuals who are Latino who do not speak English very well is even higher, 51 percent.
The issues of turnout in the Latino community were also of concern in the enactment of the Voting Rights provisions or the bilingual assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. And here I differ with my panelist Mr. McAlpin that the concerns regarding the bilingual assistance provisions occurred in '75. They occurred as early as 1965, with the enactment of 4(e) that specifically was delegated to the benefit of the Puerto Rican community. In that sense, turnout issues are still an issue; that is, the bilingual assistance provisions were also passed by Congress to address issues of lack of turnout. And today, recent studies regarding the 2004 election by the Pew Hispanic Center demonstrate that 47 percent of eligible Latinos have turned out to vote in the 2004 election, compared to about 67 percent for Whites and about 60 percent for Blacks.
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When you look, Mr. Chairman, at the number of Latino elected officials in this country, it is less than 1 1/2 percent of all the officeholders in this country, about 493,000 somewhat offices, and yet Latinos only hold less than 1 1/1 percent of those offices. Enforcement mechanisms, therefore, have been very important.
In New York, observers from the Justice Department for section 203 compliance have been issued as recently as 2004, and I should say as recently as 2 days ago at the elections in New York City. In Passaic County alone, 450 observers were deployed by the Department of Justice in a 5-year span for the purpose of ensuring that bilingual assistance under 203 will be complied with, for the purpose of also demonstrating that Latino voters will not be intimidated against; that's 450 in 5 years.
203 is also important asanother reason for its reenactment of 203, is also important with respect to the voting rights of Puerto Rican citizens in this country.
I have set forth in my testimony a number of passages from an opinion back in 1965, U.S. v. Monroe County. If you have a chance to look at that opinion, gentlemen, you will recognize that all the principles in that opinion are still true today. Puerto Ricans are still subject to the full authority of the territory. Puerto Ricans are still citizens of the United States. Puerto Ricans still migrate back and forth with no inhibition or obstacle whatsoever.
Spanish is spill a major feature in Puerto Rican life, both in Puerto Rican and for Puerto Ricans in the United States. About three-quarters of the island population speaks English less than very well. About 40 percent speaks no English at all.
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Puerto Ricans here in the United States have different characteristics, but still about a quarter of those speak English less than very well, and in New York and New Jersey that proportion is slightly higher.
So while English is being spoken at much higher rates, we still have a very large proportion of Puerto Ricans, back over there on the island and over here, that are not yet mastering English. They are close to now almost 3.7 million, according to the census, Puerto Ricans in the United States, approaching 3.8 million on the island of Puerto Rico. Very soon, any day now, there will be probably even slightly more.
So let me try to wrap up with the following points. Section 203 is very important because, in our opinion, it promotes good government, responsive government, and government that actually addresses issues with a formula that is self-maintaining. It will change over time with demographic changes, coverage changes.
The language characteristics of Latinos that I just talked about I think warrant continued coverage. Lack of enforcement and compliance warrant continued coverage. We also are in favor of actually reducing the numerical thresholds from 10,000 to 7,500.
I would be happy to answer your questions if time permits.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cartagena follows:]
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF JUAN CARTAGENA
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Mr. CHABOT. I want to thank all of the panel members for their testimony here this morning.
The question I am going to ask has several parts to it, and I am just going to go down the line and let each one of you take it. I'm not sure if I'll have any time left when I'm done because I'm encouraging Members to stick within their 5 minutes because we only have the room until 10 o'clock because there is another Committee coming here afterwards.
First of all, you've all indicated, I think, for the most part, with some exceptions, that 203 is still needed. Number one, are language minorities currently being discriminated against in the election process? And shouldn't Americans be encouraged to learn English? And shouldn't we be focusing on resources on bettering our schools and our Nation's proficiency in the English language? And how is this provision consistent with the naturalization process in which individuals applying for citizenship are required to learn and understand English? And finally, is section 203 consistent with encouraging assimilation, or, as some suggest, does the section divide or balkanize our Nation?
And there's a lot in there, and you're invited to take any parts that you feel comfortable with, within about a minute each, unfortunately. So we will begin with you, Ms. Johnson.
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Ms. JOHNSON. Thank you. As far as should citizens be encouraged to learn English, I think we're not talking about Alaskan Natives or Native Americans as naturalized citizens, we're talking about them as the indigenous citizens of this country. And in 1991 there was a studyin fact, right before there was some203 was taken up again in Congress, the study saidNations at Risk said that 9 percent of the people only had limited English proficiency in the fifth grade in English. If you think about that, that's onlyyou're talking 10 years later, they're only in their early 20's. And in the communities, particularly from the rural parts of Alaska that I know best, English is the second language, and that elders continue to speak in the language that they know best, and that children continue to learn in that environment. Although the children learn English in school, it doesn't mean that it necessarily is theirand I think that the younger generations will probably be more proficient in English. We still have a huge sector of our population that is more proficient in their own indigenous language, and so we need to accommodate that.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
Mr. MCALPIN. Mr. Chairman, I think what you said, does it discriminate against other language minorities? Obviously to have ballots in English discriminates against other languages, I mean, that's self-evident, but I think the real issue is it does not discriminate against anybody on the basis of race or ethnicity or national origin, and that point I made in my testimony.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Shouldn't we be encouraging people to learn English? Absolutely. The census shows that an immigrant who speaks English well earns on average 43 percent more than one who doesn't speak it well. If they speak English very well, they earn almost twice as much as someone who doesn't speak it well. So it's clearly in the country's interest and it's in the immigrants' interest to encourage them. It raises their job skills and raises their taxpaying power, everything. It's a win-win situation. We definitely should be encouraging that.
Naturalization, it's not consistent with naturalization. Now I'm very much aware that we do have exceptions in our naturalization laws for people that have been here for over 20 years, that are 50 years of age or more, but that's an enormous concession to people to make that, and it does not follow that because we give them that privilege, that we have to then also go to the trouble of providing bilingual ballots. They have alternatives that are very logical, common-sense and targeted. Like I said, to bring an interpreter into the poll with them, family member or whoever they want, they have that right; the Justice Department has made that clear since 1982.
Does it divide our Nation? Yes. It takes us down a pejorative path that we do not want to go. This country has had a successful model since its founding, called the melting pot, of assimilating people from every place on Earth to become good, solid Americans and part of our community, and we want to continueto turn our back on that, which is what this starts to do, it sends a very strong signal that we can be a Nation of linguistically isolated colonies instead of one community speaking one language and having that common bond. Very important, as Barbara Jordan said, to promote policies that ensure our civic unity, and that means our linguistic unity as well.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
Mr. TUCKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Really I want to break down my answer in two parts; first of all, to debunk this myth that somehow most of the individuals who need language assistance are recent arrivals. They're not. The 2000 census data shows that among Hispanics, 60 percent of all Hispanics in the United States were Native-born Hispanics. One hundred percent of Puerto Ricans, of course, are Native-born, as well as all Alaskan Natives and Native Americans.
So that being aside, it's clear just based upon that evidence alone that this is not justnor should it besome sort of division between let's treat the naturalized citizens differently than the folks who were Native-born. We need to have one standard, it should apply, and that standard should be let's make the election system open and accessible to every citizen who needs it, regardless of their language abilities.
Among Latinos, according to the 2000 census, 40.6 percent of all Latinos in the United States speak English less than very well. And among Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, that number is 11.1 percent of all Alaskan Natives and Native Americans.
Mr. CHABOT. I hate to cut you off here, but I'm trying to be fair to all my colleagues here. So thank you very much.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. Cartagena.
Mr. CARTAGENA. Mr. Chairman, I think the information that I provided in my testimony with respect to compliance with 203 and the issues of Federal observers and litigation promoted by the Department of Justice and other attorneys demonstrate that there still is a problem of discrimination against language-minority citizens in this country.
With respect to your other questions regarding how do you square 203 with naturalization and whether or not it's encouraging assimilation, I don't think anyone is standing before any of you, sir, gentlemen, and demanding thator asserting that language-minority citizens do not want to learn English; they all do. The problem is there's not enough resources for them to learn English. I cite a New York Times article in my testimony that demonstrates that there are no places for adults to learn English in virtually all of Queens County.
The point here, sir, is that we're talking about the right to vote, one of the most cherished rights in our democracy. And to condition that right to vote on complete fluency in English, enough to try to even understand ballot initiates and referendawhich is not easy to do even in the English language, I would submitI think is a mistake. The right to vote is too important to take it away from individual citizens who are simply trying to participate in the political process.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you very much.
The gentleman from Michigan, the distinguished Ranking Member of the full Judiciary Committee, Mr. Conyers is recognized.
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Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This morning it seems like deja vu. I can'tI almost can't believe that I am listening to a debate about whether immigrants or recent immigrants need assistance at the polls. It's like we've just thrown away 30 years of constitutional voting rights history and opened this up as a brand new subject.
And to quote Barbara Jordan, Mr. McAlpinI don't know if you've met or know Barbara Jordan, she was a member of this Committee. And for you to take that phrase and suggest or imply that it supports your position is something that I would like to discuss with you for the rest of the year.
But this is a stunning discussion here. We've been through the courts on this. The law is settled on it. Why we're going through all of this may be because of H.R. 997, an English-only bill, which my Chairman is or was a co-sponsor of, Mr. Chabot, and I don't know what it is we're doing here.
Immigrants are discriminated, exploited, oppressed, economically subjugated. Their rights are violated outside of voting. Here is a subservient labor workforce that is incredibly discriminated against, and we meet here to discuss constitutional niceties about whether or not they ought tothey need any help with English language in voting. Of course they do.
Now, Michigan is coveredis caught by this provision in Allegan County, and we've checked with all the Mexican-American Legal Defense and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, NALEO, and compliance seems to be good and going on.
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But let me yield to Mr. Tucker to help me stabilize my presence here this morning in the kind of discussion that we're having. I would like you to comment on my observations, please.
Mr. TUCKER. Thank you, Mr. Conyers.
I want to point out again that I think everything that the gentleman from Michigan said is absolutely true, that there really should not be some sort of bifurcation or have different gradations of citizenship. We really should be far beyond that. And the fact of the matter is that I'm someone who has worked both as someone who has been a trial attorney at Justice enforcing the provisions, as well as someone who's worked with election officials to come into compliance. Most elections officials want to do this. Most elections officials want to do the right thing, which is to include these folks.
To the extent that there's a discussion that somehow this is going to balkanize the country, exactly the opposite is true. The fact of the matter, as this Committee has recognized, as well as the House and Senate recognized when it previously considered this provision, most individuals who are immigrating to the United States learn English well enough within about 10 years after arrival. This is a way to integrate them into the system, this is a way to make them full Americans. And to be talking about in 2005 that we're going to somehow treat naturalized citizens in a different manner than folks who happen to be Native-born is somewhat astonishing. I mean, that's an argument that was made repeatedly in the 19th century, and it's really time that we should move beyond that. The fact of the matter is assistance does make a difference, having people there who could speak their language does make a difference.
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The voter assistance provisions of section 208 do not cure this problem. The fact of the matter is our studies show that 90 percent of the jurisdictionsand these are election officialsare getting 208 wrong. And this is exactly consistent with what is frequently reported in the newspaper, where you have people who will bring their mother with them, their father, their daughter, their son to give them assistance, and they're turned away, they're not allowed to go into the voting both. So for those reasons I believe the gentleman from Michigan is absolutely right, and 203 is necessary.
Mr. CONYERS. I assume, Mr. Cartagena, Esquire, that you're in general agreement with the comments of myself and your fellow witness?
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time is expired. Please answer the question.
Mr. CARTAGENA. Yes, I am, definitely.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman from Iowa Mr. King is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. KING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I sit here and I see significant disagreement with a lot of the philosophy that I've heard here with the panel, and also I think the tone I hear from the questioning. And I think when I look back on this section 203, as I understand it, it's more than a generation old, and in a generation you can do a lot of things.
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I look back on Lowell Webster, writing the American English dictionary for the express purpose of standardizing the spelling, the pronunciation and the meaning of the English language because it was just English that was being colloquialized in the Thirteen Original Colonies. When he traveled, he realized there were enclavesjust language enclaves, not ethnic enclaves, but just language enclaves being established in the original Thirteen Colonies, and he was afraid the United States of America would break apart because we couldn't communicate with each other to the level that we would have an overall binding common communications currency. And so he wrote the English language dictionary.
It was his dream to make it a constitutional amendment, and I wish he had gotten that done. In fact, I wish we had never seen section 203 because in this generation we might have gotten away from all these language barriers, these language enclaves that we seem to be promoting here instead of seeking to diminish the promotion of assimilation. You need to learn English if you want to succeed and participate successfully in this society, and we're sending the opposite message by this policy.
My father grew up in a German-speaking household. He went to kindergarten the first day speaking only German, and he walked into the house that day from that first day, and he said hello to his mother in German, and she turned to him and pointed her finger at him and said, son, speaking German in this household is for you from now forbidden. I came here to become an American; I need you to go to school and learn English and bring it home and teach it to me. And that's how she learned it. And they were proud to be Americans. And she sent four sons back to Germany to fight in World War II and one to the South Pacific. And so, you know, that's the background that I bring to this.
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And I think we're working in the wrong direction by promoting ethnicor I'll say language enclaves. Ethnicity is another choice and another subject matter, but we need to pull this together. When will we ever get to the point where we can get rid of 203? By the testimony that I've heardand I guess I'll turn the question to Mr. Tucker, and what would be your goals towhat do you think America is going to look like in a generation from now, or two or three, more language enclaves or less, if we keep promoting the language dependency?
Mr. TUCKER. Thank you, Mr. King. I would respectfully disagree with the gentleman from Iowa with respect to referring to the language enclaves. It really isn't. This is literally the melting pot of American Society. It's truly a wonderful thing.
I have to say, one of the shining moments that I have seen was what sort of impact this has on recent arrivals who do not speak English well enough to participate. And bear in mind that many of the individuals who do not speak English well enough, it's not because they don't want to, in many instances they simply are not capable of learning English. Many of the individuals, a large percentage who are limited in English proficiency in this country, are individuals over the age of 60. That's particularly true on the Navajo Reservation, throughout Indian country, among a large number of Latinos. And that, again, is specifically why in 1984, when the GAO commissioned the Southwest Voter Education Project to do a study, they found that the majority of the individuals who needed assistance were Native-born Americans that simply had not gotten the educational opportunities that they needed
Mr. KING. Mr. Tucker, the Hispanics that come across from our southern border and arrive here, what is their indigenous language?
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Mr. TUCKER. It would be Spanish.
Mr. KING. It would.
Mr. TUCKER. Yes.
Mr. KING. And what did their ancestors learn?
Mr. TUCKER. Presumably Spanish.
Mr. KING. What did they speak before that?
Mr. TUCKER. I don't know. I
Mr. KING. Their Native American language that you're addressing. And they adapted Spanish quickly, and they learned it in the missionaries. In fact, it became the lingua franca that bonded them together. They had the ability to learn Spanish a few centuries ago, and I would think that they would have the ability to learn English today.
Can I turn to Mr. McAlpin for a comment, please?
Mr. MCALPIN. Yeah. First of all, thank you, Mr. King, I appreciateand I wanted to reiterate, we are in favor of every citizen having the right to vote. And with all due respect to the gentleman from Michigan, sir, I did have the privilege of meeting Barbara Jordan, I did have the privilege of testifying before her commission, and I have enormous respect for her. And I think her words speak for themselves. And I think that she would be very much, reallyI wish she were here to speak for herself. I think she would be encouraging that we go down the path of unifying people. And what we are saying here is we should not treat naturalized citizens differently from American citizens, we should treat people the same.
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Now, I also want to just say that everybody has the right to get language assistance in the polls. They can bring an interpreter with them. There is nothing to prevent local election districts from hiring and providing interpreters. There is nothing to prevent groups and organizations like Mr. Cartagena's from providing volunteer interpreters and something like that. There are reasonable targeted opportunities for people who cannot speak English to be able to get assistance to be able to cast an informed ballot.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time is expired.
I hate to cut you off there, but the gentleman from Virginia Mr. Scott is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me follow up on that line of questioning, Mr. McAlpin. Apparently you're not offended when election officials are courteous and helpful and helping voters get through the registration and voting process; is that right? You're not offended by that?
Mr. MCALPIN. I most certainly am not. Sometimes when I vote early in the morning, they don't seem to be in the best of moods, sir.
Mr. SCOTT. Do you know what a blank paper ballot is?
Mr. MCALPIN. A blank paper ballot is a ballot that has a blank on it for
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Mr. SCOTT. The blank ballot voter registration form.
Mr. MCALPIN. Yes, I do.
Mr. SCOTT. You know what it is?
Mr. MCALPIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. SCOTT. If you have a form that asks the questions, that would be helpful. You don't like the blank paper voter registration form, do you?
Mr. MCALPIN. I'm not sure I understand your question, sir.
Mr. SCOTT. Would you support a blank paper voter registration form where you're given a blank piece of paper, and you have to fill out all the information; if you leave it out
Mr. MCALPIN. There is no information printed on it in any way?
Mr. SCOTT. That's right. They used to have those. And it's up to the voter, the person trying to register, to put down all the information. And if you leave something out, like you forgot to answer whether you have been convicted of a felony, leave anything out, you leave, they just don't register your vote because you just didn't provide all the information.
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Do you support the blank paper voter registration?
Mr. MCALPIN. I don't think so.
Mr. SCOTT. Do you support literacy tests?
Mr. MCALPIN. No. Certainly if they're notif they're used in a discriminatory manner, absolutely not.
Mr. SCOTT. Do you support literacy tests?
Mr. MCALPIN. No, I do not. But I will say this, that a ballot in any language requires literacy.
Mr. SCOTT. Should bilingual assistanceI think you said bilingual assistance should be allowed.
Mr. MCALPIN. It is allowed under the law right now, it is allowed.
Mr. SCOTT. If it's provided, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Mr. MCALPIN. It is a good thing for people that cannot read English well enough to understand a ballot, to allow them to havethey can bring a volunteer, a member, family member, a friend, clergyman, anybody else to help them into the poll with them
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Mr. SCOTT. And if a substantial number of people actually need assistance, and that assistance is denied, and large groups of constituents, of potential voters in the area can't get through the process, that assistance is denied, is that a good thing or a bad thing if the leaders in the community deny access to balloting by denying assistance to that group of people who might not vote for them? Is that denial and withholding of assistance a good thing or a bad thing?
Mr. MCALPIN. It's neither a good thing or a bad thing, it's an illegal thing.
Mr. SCOTT. Illegal now, but that's what we're talking about. Now, you said
Mr. MCALPIN. No, no, sir. With all respect, sir, we're talking about printing ballots in certain other languages and voter information. We're not talking about providing assistance to people who cannot read a ballot in English.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, my response to that is you're talking semantics.
Let me go to Barbara Jordan's questions. Such policies should help people learn to speak, read and write English effectively. Suppose a group wants to change the policy; the school board will not provide English as a second language assistance; and a group of people, a majority of the people, if they can ever vote, could change the policy. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that we ought to help the people register to vote so they can change the policy so they can help to speak, read and write English effectively?
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Mr. MCALPIN. Just two comments, sir. We are all in favor oflike I said, we believe that every qualified voter should be able to vote without exception. And secondly, we certainly support increased funding
Mr. SCOTT. Well, you recognizesince my time is ending, you recognize, of course, that there would be a perverse incentive for the elected officials in the area to do everything they can to make sure that certain parts of the district don't vote because they might vote them out of office and change some policies. And if you supply everybody all the assistance they need to get registered and cast an effective vote, some of those people might just get voted out of office; isn't that right?
Mr. MCALPIN. Well, if they are using their power as elected officials to prevent people from voting, they should be voted out of office, sir.
Mr. SCOTT. Blank paper registration form doesn't prevent anybody from voting.
Mr. Tucker, is it helpful to change the policiesif peopleif everybody can register and vote?
Mr. TUCKER. I would say no, and the reason is very simple.
Mr. SCOTT. No what?
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. TUCKER. No, the policy should remain in effect, it should not be changed.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time is expired.
Mr. SCOTT. Could I have 30 seconds to finish the question?
Mr. CHABOT. Thirty seconds.
Mr. SCOTT. The policy I'm talking about is a policy if a community doesn't supply English as a second language assistance, and people want to change that policy so they can get more language assistance, the way you do that is through the political process. Now, if you can't vote, you can't change the process.
Now, isn't it helpful to have everybody voting so that everybody can have an equal voice in what the policy ought to be?
Mr. TUCKER. It absolutely is, Mr. Scott. I would also note that on each occasion when Congress has considered the bilingual election provisions, they've specifically noted that this should not a be a punitive measure where the voters are held accountable for the lack of resources in their communities, whether it's ESL or denial of educational opportunities in the public school system.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time is expired.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The gentleman from Arizona Mr. Franks is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, folks, for being here.
Mr. Cartagena, in hearing your testimony, I understand that it is your belief that we should have ballots printed in languages that reflect the local need as much as possible. And I guess I am sincerely wondering, where do we make the decision that ballots should be printed in a particular language? How do we make that decision in an unbiased manner? In other words, if we're in an area where there is a large Hispanic population or a large German population, where do we make a distinction?
Mr. CARTAGENA. Well, currently 203 makes that distinction for us. 203 has a numerical threshold and a number of other indicators that are objectively identifiable. The Census Bureau must certify that at least 5 percent of the current jurisdiction is limited English-proficient language-minority citizens, or 10,000 people, whatever is less.
Also, the Census determines other issues regarding education attainment. When those things happen in combination, then the Federal policy is to provide assistance in a language other than English.
Mr. FRANKS. Well, Mr. Cartagena, I know that you know that the goal there, of course, is to help those who cannot understand the ballot; but it occurs to me that that's an arbitrary decision, because there is someone in the community that is not going to be covered under that situation. That's just an invariable reality. My wife came here, emigrated from the Philippines, and she now speaks four languages. When she came to the United States, in English she knew yes, no, and what's your name. She consistently beats me at the Word Power games now, so it's kind of embarrassing. But the reality is that her family had great wisdom in making sure that she could understand the common language in this country so that she could do well.
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There is an old Iroquois quote that the secret to the universe is in the true naming of things, and that can't exist unless there is some common language that everyone understands. And if we're going to make an arbitrary Federal decision to say, well, in this area we're going to print the ballot in two languages, this area three languages, no matter what we do, we will leave some group of people that don't understand those languages out, unless we print the ballot in all known languages on the Earth, which is impractical and impossible.
And it just occurs to me that no matter how far down this road we go, that if we don't somehow invite and encourage a strong commitment on all the part of our citizens to a common language, that we do them a disservice in the long run. And, of course, I say that as someone, you know, that is married to a lady that speaks three more languages than I do, and again, that's embarrassing. But the reality is that if we're not careful, where do we stop here?
I understand the very nature of the principle of creating ballots in many languages seems to speak against doing that because we can't possibly print it in enough languages. So I just, Mr. Chairman, express that for the record, and appreciate the panelists for speaking to the issues.
Mr. CARTAGENA. If I may just respond, Congressman. A wonderful thing when you talk about language, everyone has a personal story to say. And I appreciate your comments, and I appreciate Congressman King's comments about his family. Let me tell you very briefly, then, in my family I learned English when my mother migrated from Puerto Rico to the United States in the '50's. When she died, she had just been retired only about severala handful of years, never earned more than $11,000 a year, worked in a sewing machine factory, knew barely enough English to get her way from her house to her job. She is from Puerto Rico, sir.
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And the issues that were raised by Mr. King and yourself seem to imply that Puerto Ricans, as one subset of the Latino community, do not want to learn English and insist on keeping Spanish. And the kind of discussion that we all have separates the reality that for Puerto Ricans in this country and for Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico, the issues are pretty clear with respect to
Mr. FRANKS. Let me just respond to that because I understand what you're saying
Mr. CARTAGENA. Service in our military with no questions asked.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time here just briefly. My time is almost gone.
I appreciate your thought there. That's not my heart at all. The bottom line is, though, that if the language is Spanishwhy not Ilocano? Why not Tagalog? That leaves my wife out and would have left her out in that situation. And I just am concerned that if we don't recognize the reality, we always leave someone out in that situation, and the only ultimate hope for everyone is to bring everybody together in a language we all understand.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time is expired. We have to give up this room when the big hand is on the 10. The gentlelady from Texason the 12, rather. The gentlelady from Texas Ms. Jackson Lee has the balance of the time, which I think is about 2 1/2 minutes.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the Chairmanand I will move very quicklyI thank the Chairman and the Ranking Member for allowing me to join this discussion. I look forward to being with you next week.
Let me just quickly say I represent the 18th Congressional District, had the privilege of having Barbara Jordan as the maidenholder of this seat, and also the privilege of her support as I ran, and interacting with her principles and values.
Might I just say that utilizing the quote that Mr. McAlpin has used, let me just say that since Congresswoman Jordan was responsible for the language provision that included at that time Hispanics under the Voter Rights Act of 1965, I would venture to say that the interpretation of her remarks would be such that she would not use the hammer of non-English to deny a birthright of the right to vote.
And I would work with Mr. McAlpin continuously to expand English and provide educational resources and make sure our schools are credible and that we don't have second- and third-rate schools. But how that tracks with the voting right is a question.
So Mr. Tucker, here is my question, because we have to determine whether we want to continue this provision and assistance, and that bears on the question of unduly burdensome in terms of the constitutional standard. Would this continuance be unduly burdensome on local jurisdictions, and in terms of cost and feasibility, as you would juxtapose it against the birthright, the constitutional right, the desires of making sure that all Americans and all who are eligible to vote can vote?
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Mr. TUCKER. No, it would not. As the Supreme Court has recognized for over 100 years, voting is a fundamental right. It's not a fundamental right for some groups and not for others, it's a fundamental right for all Americans. It is not unduly burdensome.
I do want to point out that it's not just our study that has shown that it's not unduly burdensome, but the two GAO studieswhich I again would commend to the Committee's attentionshow the same thing.
The other point I want to make is that many of the costs that can be associated with providing language assistance can be limited significantly through effective targeting. Congress recognized that targeting should be a key component of it to make sure that those folks who need assistance receive it. DOJ's guidelines call for the same thing. And jurisdictions that effectively target, do it, provide assistance significantly.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think we have that burden to do that.
Mr. CHABOT. The Ranking Member Mr. Nadler is recognized for the purpose of making a brief statement.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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First of all, let me apologize. This hearing was very quickly rescheduled, and I had a previous commitment I couldn't get out of until now.
Let me just sayI will submit questions for the record, but I want to say for the record also that I regard the bilingual requirements of section 203 as of extreme importance, as not burdening anyone. And when you think of the fact not onlywhen you think of the fact that we want to increase people's participation in democratic, or a small D, government, and that there are plenty of people in this country who are citizens for whom English is not their first language, many of whom are born in the United States and Puerto Rico who don't have to learn English to become a citizen, this is little enough to ask. It has been a great service that we've had this requirement. It has increased democratic participation, and we should not even think of relaxing it in any way.
Thank you, I yield back.
Mr. CHABOT. I thank the gentleman.
I thank the witness panel and all the Members for being here today. We do have one hearing next weekone hearing on the Voting Rights Act next week.
If there is no further business to come before the Committee, we are adjourned. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 10:02 a.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
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A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE STEVE CHABOT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION
Welcome and thank you everyone for being here. This is the Subcommittee on the Constitution and the eighth in a series of hearings this Committee is holding examining the impact and effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act over the last twenty-five years. Today this Committee will continue its focus on Section 203, the provision authorizing bilingual language assistance to American citizens who are members of covered language minority groups and who have limited-English proficiency. Section 203 is set to expire in 2007, unless reauthorized.
I would like to welcome our witnesses here today and look forward to their testimony.
I'll be brief this afternoon. Section 203 was enacted in 1975 in response to a history of unequal educational opportunities experienced by citizens whose dominate language is not English. Section 203 responds to this disparity by requiring designated jurisdictions to provide bilingual election assistance, including notices, instructions, information, and ballots, to citizens who are members of a designated language minority group and who have limited-English proficiency.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 As we heard yesterday, Section 203 has been an effective tool in assisting citizens who are members of a covered language minority group to participate in one of the most fundamental element of our system of democracy. However, we also heard testimony yesterday that Section 203 diminishes the importance of the English language in our nation, and imposes unnecessary costs on our electoral system.
These are all important factors that the Committee must consider as we continue to examine the VRA. I look forward to continuing this discussion and hearing from our witnesses.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOHN CONYERS, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, AND MEMBER, SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION
When Congress passed the Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act in 1975, we recognized that through the use of various practices and procedures, citizens of language minorities had been effectively excluded from participation in the electoral process. Among other factors, the denial of the right to vote of such minority group citizens was directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them, resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation.
We then determined that, in order to enforce the guarantees of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, it was necessary to eliminate such discrimination by prohibiting discriminatory voting practices, and by prescribing other remedial devices. Thus we saw a direct connection between access to the ballot box and the ability to achieve equal educational and economic opportunity. Covered language minorities included: American Indians, Asian Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Spanish-heritage citizensthe groups that Congress found to have faced barriers in the political process.
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The legal requirements of Section 203 are straightforward: all election information that is available in English must also be available in the minority language so that all citizens will have an effective opportunity to register, learn the details of the elections, and cast a free and effective ballot. Sections 203, in combination with Section 4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act, have been tremendously successful in opening the franchise to citizens who are not native English language speakers.
Some witnesses have challenged the constitutionality of Section 203 and even questioned the need for the provision. While I approach these hearings with an open mind, let me say at the outset, I fully support bilingual election assistance. In a growing multi-cultural society it only makes sense that we support and require the assistance necessary to allow every citizen to cast an effective ballot.
I believe that it is dangerous to assume that past historical discrimination faced by language minorities has suddenly faded away with the passing of the millennium. If anything, the growth of our immigrant population has exacerbated existing patterns of discrimination. We see this in everything from patterns of hate violence to the rise of English-only movements which have not quite shaken their links to the past prejudices.
As we move forward, I hope that our witnesses will address the continuing challenges faced by language minorities in gaining equal access to the ballot box, with a particular focus on litigation and patterns of discrimination. Equally important, I hope that they highlight the record of compliance by jurisdictions and the fact that the provision is not burdensome. At the end of this process, this Committee wants no question as to the need and viability of Section 203.
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS, AND MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHRIS NORBY, SUPERVISOR, FOURTH DISTRICT, ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF ARTURO VARGAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LATINO ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS (NALEO) EDUCATIONAL FUND
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VOTING RIGHTS CASES BROUGHT ON BEHALF OF AMERICAN INDIANS AND/OR INTERPRETING THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT RE: INDIAN INTERESTS. FROM JENNIFER ROBINSON, DANIEL MCCOOL, AND SUSAN OLSON: NATIVE VOTE: AMERICAN INDIANS, THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT, AND THE RIGHT TO VOTE. Forthcoming. Cambridge University Press, 2006
[Note: Image(s) not available in this format. See PDF version of this file.]
(Footnote 3 return)
Voting Rights Act Language Assistance Amendments of 1992: Hearings on S. 2236 Before the Subcomm. On the Constitution of the Senate Comm. On the Judiciary [1992 hearings], 102d Cong., 2d Sess., S. Hrg. 1021066, at 134 (1992) (statement of Sen. Hatch).
(Footnote 4 return)
See Appendix A.
(Footnote 5 return)
See 42 U.S.C. §1973l(c)(3), 1973aa1a(e).
(Footnote 6 return)
See 121 Cong. Rec H4716 (daily ed. June 2, 1975) (statement of Rep. Edwards). When the 1975 amendments were enacted, the Bureau of the Census defined the language minority groups in the following manner:
(Footnote 7 return)
See 42 U.S.C. §1973b(b).
(Footnote 8 return)
S. Rep. No. 94295 at 31, reprinted in 1975 U.S.C.C.A.N. 798; see also id. at 9, reprinted in 1975 U.S.C.C.A.N. 775 (section 4(f)(4) applies to areas ''where severe voting discrimination was documented'' against language minorities). Specifically, ''the more severe remedies of title II are premised not only on educational disparities'' like the less stringent provisions under title III of the 1975 amendments, ''but also on evidence that language minorities have been subjected to 'physical, economic, and political intimidation' when they seek to participate in the political process.'' 121 Cong. Rec. H4718 (daily ed. June 2, 1975) (statement of Rep. Edwards).
(Footnote 9 return)
See Figure C-1. Coverage determinations were published at 40 Fed. Reg. 43746 (Sept. 23, 1975), 40 Fed. Reg. 49422 (Oct. 22, 1975), 41 Fed. Reg. 784 (Jan. 5, 1976) (corrected at 41 Fed. Reg. 1503 (Jan. 8, 1976)), and 41 Fed. Reg. 34329 (Aug. 13, 1976). Covered counties in Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma have bailed out pursuant to Section 4(a) of the Voting Rights Act. See 28 C.F.R. §55.7(a).
(Footnote 10 return)
See 42 U.S.C. §1973aa1a(b)(2).
(Footnote 11 return)
See generally 42 U.S.C. §1973aa1a(b)(3)(B) (defining ''limited-English proficient'' as the inability ''to speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process''). The 1992 House Report explains the manner in which the Director of Census determines the number of limited-English proficient persons:
(Footnote 12 return)
See 42 U.S.C. §1973aa1a(c).
(Footnote 13 return)
See Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1992, Determinations Under Section 203, 67 Fed. Reg. 48,871 (July 26, 2002) (to be codified at 28 C.F.R. pt. 55) (''2002 Determinations''). Two states that previously were covered in part by Section 203, Iowa and Wisconsin, no longer are covered. See id.; 28 C.F.R. pt. 55, App. Section 203 coverage has been extended to political subdivisions of five states not covered previously: Kansas, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, and Washington. See 2002 Determinations, supra; 28 C.F.R. pt. 55, App.
(Footnote 14 return)
See Figure C-2.
(Footnote 15 return)
See U.S. Gen. Acct. Off., Bilingual Voting Assistance: Costs of and Use During the 1984 General Election 1112 (1986) (''1984 GAO Study'').
(Footnote 16 return)
See U.S. Gen. Acct. Off., Bilingual Voting Assistance: Assistance Provided and Costs 1, 33 (1997).
(Footnote 17 return)
See Figure E-1.
(Footnote 18 return)
The questions are derived from the Voting Rights Act and Census definitions. Survey results have been analyzed in light of Census 2000 data and the number and type of languages covered in each jurisdiction. A copy of the survey is included in Appendix B.
(Footnote 19 return)
See Appendix D for more information on the survey respondents.
(Footnote 20 return)
See Figure E-2.
(Footnote 21 return)
See Figure E-5.
(Footnote 22 return)
See Figure E-8.
(Footnote 23 return)
See Figure E-3.
(Footnote 24 return)
See 1984 GAO Study at 20.
(Footnote 25 return)
See Figure E-4.
(Footnote 26 return)
See Figure E-6.
(Footnote 27 return)
See 1984 GAO Study at 17.
(Footnote 28 return)
H. Rep. No. 102655 at 9, reprinted in 1992 U.S.C.C.A.N. 773. The legislative history from the original 1975 amendments also describes the use of effective targeting. See Cong. Rec. S13650 (daily ed. July 24, 1975) (statement of Sen. Tunney); S. Rep. No. 94295 at 69, reprinted in 1975 U.S.C.C.A.N. 820. The Department of Justice guidelines explicitly provide for targeting. See also 28 C.F.R. §55.17 (stating the Attorney General's view ''that a targeting system will normally fulfill the Act's minority language requirements if it is designed and implemented in such a way that language minority group members who need minority language materials and assistance receive them''). Even opponents of Section 203 have endorsed the use of targeting. See generally Statement of Stanley Diamond, Chairman of U.S. English, on Proposed Extension of Voting Rights Act, in S. 2236 Hearings, 102d Cong., 2d Sess., S. Hrg. 1021066, at 300 (describing targeting as the ''least objectionable alternative'' where it is limited to voter assistance and does not include ''printing all materials in languages other than English'').
(Footnote 29 return)
See Figure E-11.
(Footnote 30 return)
See Figure E-12.
(Footnote 31 return)
See Figure E-13.
(Footnote 32 return)
Two of the jurisdictions providing only bilingual election materials also are covered for American Indian languages. These jurisdictions only have an average American Indian voting age population of .7 percent, of whom 12.4 percent are limited-English proficient.
(Footnote 33 return)
See Figure E-14.
(Footnote 34 return)
See Figure E-15.
(Footnote 35 return)
See Figure E-16.
(Footnote 36 return)
See Figure E-17.
(Footnote 37 return)
The average cost was calculated from the 95 jurisdictions submitting complete cost data that responded to this question.
(Footnote 38 return)
See Figure E-18.
(Footnote 39 return)
See Figure E-19.
(Footnote 40 return)
28 C.F.R. §55.18(e).
(Footnote 41 return)
See Figure E-20.
(Footnote 42 return)
See Figure E-24.
(Footnote 43 return)
See Figure E-23.
(Footnote 44 return)
28 C.F.R. §55.15.
(Footnote 45 return)
See Figure E-21.
(Footnote 46 return)
See Figure E-22.
(Footnote 47 return)
(Footnote 48 return)
Respondents 311, 402, 550.
(Footnote 49 return)
(Footnote 50 return)
(Footnote 51 return)
(Footnote 52 return)
(Footnote 53 return)
(Footnote 54 return)
(Footnote 55 return)
(Footnote 56 return)
(Footnote 57 return)
(Footnote 58 return)
(Footnote 59 return)
See Figures E-25 through E-27.