New American Voters Fund: $4 million for Language Access in Elections
Language access isn't free! Ensuring that all voters have access to voting is essential for our democracy. Please write to your legislator in support of Amendment 143 to the state budget (filed by Sen. DiDomenico). This budget amendment would provide $3 million for municipalities and $1 million for community-based organizations to promote language access in elections.
The Voting Rights Act requires equal access to the ballot for linguistic minorities that meet numerical and other thresholds. 19 Massachusetts cities and towns meet these thresholds and are required to ensure equal access to the ballot, but they lack sufficient funds. Failure to provide equal access for Limited English Proficiency voters may lead to litigation.
That's why we support the New Americans Voter Fund (Amendment 143 to the state budget, filed by Sen. DiDomenico) to ensure that municipalities have the resources to implement language access in elections, as required by federal law. The New American Voters Fund would provide $3 million for municipalities & the Secretary of the Commonwealth and $1 million for community-based organizations to:
- Hire bilingual poll workers or interpreters at every polling location, permanent bilingual elections department staffers, and professional translators for bilingual digital information on elections
- Target outreach and information sessions, and distribute bilingual outreach materials
- Train elections departments on voting rights law and discrimination
- Create rapid response systems to discrimination or lack of access, and collect feedback from Limited English Proficiency residents to improve voting