California Secretary of State Seeks Candidates for New Language Accessibility Advisory Committee

Language diversity is among one of the unique characteristics of California’s electorate. Language assistance on Election Day and providing voting information in the language of choice, as required by the federal Voting Rights Act, strengthens California’s democracy.

Los Angeles County provides voting information on its website in 10 different languages. According to research by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, over 50 percent of voters use some form of language assistance to vote in some Asian American communities. Research by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, shows that 1.3 million Latino voters are not yet English proficient.

To support California’s diverse electorate, Assembly Bill 1443 established the Language Accessibility Advisory Committee (LAAC), which is responsible for making recommendations to the Secretary of State on best policies and practices for language accessibility in elections and election materials. The volunteer committee will consist of 15 members who have experience in language access and knowledge of presenting elections materials.

The new formal LAAC will build on the past success of having a counseling body to consider how changes in election policies support limited English proficient voters. Future of California Elections members and partners engaged in an informal LAAC with the former Secretary of State and continued this informal practice with the current Secretary of State. By establishing a formal LAAC in the elections code, California will advance the engagement of limited English proficient voters for generations to come.

The Secretary of State is currently seeking candidates for the formal Language Assistance Advisory Committee. Here are some requirements for appointment as outlined on the Secretary of State’s website:

  1. Commitment to meet once-per-month in Sacramento, or at a teleconference location.
  2. Desire to improve elections accessibility for language minorities.
  3. Ability to coordinate outreach initiatives, and provide support to program leads.
  4. Motivation to complete work and see real results.

Interested applicants should apply by January 15, 2016. Application and instruction are available at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/language-accessibility-advisory-committee/

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