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HB21-1011

Multilingual Ballot Access For Voters

Concerning the expansion of multilingual ballot access for electors in the state, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session:
2021 Regular Session
Subject:
Elections & Redistricting
Bill Summary

The bill requires the secretary of state (secretary) and county clerk and recorders (county clerk) of certain counties to provide multilingual ballot access.

The secretary is required to establish a multilingual ballot hotline (hotline) to provide access to qualified translators or interpreters in each of the languages in which the most recent decennial census was offered in the state that has at least 2,000 citizens age 18 years or older who speak English less than very well and who speak a shared minority language at home, and in any additional languages the secretary determines by rules is necessary to assist electors in translating ballot language. The secretary is required to establish the hotline for use during the general election held in November 2022, and for every general election and statewide odd-year election thereafter. The bill specifies when the hotline must be available during voting periods. The secretary is also required to:

  • Provide notice of the hotline to electors through election day;
  • Ensure that the translators who provide translations for the multilingual hotline are qualified translators or interpreters; and
  • Promulgate rules as may be necessary to create and administer the hotline.

The county clerk of any county that satisfies specified criteria is required to create, in coordination with the secretary, a minority language sample ballot (sample ballot) in any minority language spoken in the county that satisfies the following:

  • The minority language is spoken by at least 2,000 citizens in the county age 18 years or older, who speak English less than very well, and who speak the minority language at home; or
  • The minority language is spoken by at least 2.5% of citizens in the county age 18 years or older, who speak English less than very well, and who speak the minority language at home.

The bill specifies that the sample ballot must include all of the same content that is on the English language ballot and also specifies the format of the sample ballot. In addition, the bill requires that the sample ballots be available for the general election held in November 2022, and for each general election and statewide odd-year election thereafter.

The county clerk of any county that satisfies specified criteria is required to provide, upon the request of an elector, an in-person minority language ballot (in-person ballot) in any minority language spoken in the county that satisfies the same criteria specified for sample ballots. An in-person ballot can be a ballot on demand, a ballot from a printed stock of ballots, or a ballot via an electronic voting device.

The bill specifies that the in-person ballot must include all of the same content that is on the English language ballot and specifies that in-person ballots are required to be available for the general election held in November 2022, and for each general election and statewide odd-year election thereafter.

The secretary is required to determine, pursuant to specified criteria, which counties in the state are required to provide multilingual ballot access by creating a sample ballot and providing an in-person ballot, and to notify the county clerk of any county that is required to provide such multilingual ballot access.

Legislative council staff is required to provide to the secretary a translation of all statewide ballot questions or issues that will appear on the ballot in every language in which a minority language sample ballot must be provided in the state . The secretary is required to provide each county clerk that is required to provide multilingual ballot access with a translation in the applicable minority language or languages of all content that is certified to the county clerks by the secretary of state for use by the county clerk in creating the multilingual ballot access.For the 2021-22 state fiscal year, $82,800 is appropriated from the department of state cash fund to the department of state for use by the information technology division to implement the bill.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)


(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Under Consideration

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Bill Text

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