Language access expert discusses the push for Spanish and Vietnamese ballots in Morrow
In Morrow, just south of Atlanta, city councilmember Van Tran is hoping to get election materials translated into Spanish and Vietnamese. The city has a growing population of people who speak languages other than English.
Fellow city councilmember Dorothy Dean said Tran’s political work in Vietnamese made her “uncomfortable” and that she is “bringing shame to American citizens.”
Several counties in Georgia and many across the entire country already have multilingual ballots, as it is a federally protected right.
Anar Parikh is a Senior Policy Associate and Language Access Specialist at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta. She’s been working on language access initiatives across the state.
“This is a really common misconception,” Parikh said. “You know, it’s not illegal to provide election materials in languages other than English, neither in Georgia or in the United States. And quite to the contrary, as we can see from Section 203 and even from Title Six of the Civil Rights Act, there are federal protections in place to make federal programs, initiatives, services more accessible to people in languages other than English.”