North Texas Daily

Voting processes should appeal to Spanish speakers

Voting processes should appeal to Spanish speakers

Voting processes should appeal to Spanish speakers
April 09
02:00 2020

To most Americans, the presidential election is a cut and dry process. They go to the place where they are registered to vote and use an online ballot system to choose which candidate their views align with. This process isn’t always easy for Spanish speaking voters for the 2020 U.S. election. For example, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and are automatically born with a U.S. citizenship. Puerto Ricans born on the island speak Spanish as their first language and when they come to the states, they continue primarily speaking Spanish because it is comfortable for them. Though America is a diverse nation with over 350 languages spoken in the country, ballot boxes and voter assistance are primarily written for English speaking voters.

According to an article by NBC News, a Latino civil rights group named LatinoJustice PRLDEF is suing 32 Florida counties for not providing bilingual material for Puerto Ricans. The suit would require bilingual ballots to be provided for Spanish speaking citizens for the 2020 election and future elections. I feel sympathy not only for Puerto Ricans, but also for other legal citizens that are part of the Latinx community who feel more comfortable using Spanish ballots.

Elections are always a crucial time for the country because U.S. citizens want to elect someone who can enact policies which follow the individual’s political ideology. It’s hard for someone to come into a foreign country, become a legal citizen and make a living. For a lot of Spanish speaking citizens, this is a very important election to them due to increased tensions and hostility towards the Latinx community. Latinos want to make sure they vote for the right candidates.

Not only is it ethically moral for the country to implement bilingual ballots, but it is also part of the law. This is written in Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act where states and political subdivisions require ballots and other information related to the electoral process appeal to minority citizens in languages apart from English in order to ensure the 14th and 15th amendment is upheld, according to the Department of Justice. A citizen wants the exercise their ability to vote, they should be able to use ballot boxes and be granted bilingual voting materials so there isn’t room for error.

Even if it wasn’t intentional for these counties to fail to include ballots and voting materials to omit minorities who aren’t comfortable with English, it’s unacceptable and unconstitutional for these counties to have made the error they so did. Not to beat a dead horse, but one must put themselves in the position of a minority citizen. Most Americans have the luxury to be brought up speaking the unofficial language of the United States and for many others, they were raised in another tongue. If an American moved to France and became a legal citizen, they would more than likely feel at ease if English was an available option in the ballot box. While it’s important for immigrants to speak the language of the country they move into, the letter of the law here says that their voice shouldn’t be discriminated against if they become a legal citizen.

Featured Illustration: Olivia Varnell

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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