California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1443


Introduced by Assembly Member Chau

February 27, 2015


An act to amend Section 14201 of the Elections Code, relating to voting rights.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1443, as introduced, Chau. Voting rights: language assistance.

Existing law, in counties where the Secretary of State has determined that it is appropriate, requires each precinct board to post, in a conspicuous location in the polling place, at least one facsimile copy of the ballot with the ballot measures and ballot instructions printed in Spanish. Existing law, in determining if it is appropriate to post the election materials in Spanish or other languages, requires the Secretary of State to make certain determinations, or receive information which gives the Secretary of State sufficient reason to believe a need for the furnishing of facsimile ballots, in order for the Secretary of State to find a need to post at least one facsimile copy of the ballot with the ballot measures and ballot instructions printed in Spanish or other applicable language in the affected polling places. Existing law requires the Secretary of State to make these determination and findings by January 1 of each year in which the Governor is elected.

This bill would require the Secretary of State to notify a county elections official at least 24 months before the Secretary of State will begin making the determination whether it is appropriate to post the election materials in Spanish or other languages.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

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SECTION 1.  

Section 14201 of the Elections Code is amended
2to read:

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14201.  

(a) (1) The precinct board shall post, in a conspicuous
4location in the polling place, at least one facsimile copy of the
5ballot with the ballot measures and ballot instructions printed in
6Spanish. Facsimile ballots shall also be printed in other languages
7and posted in the same manner if a significant and substantial need
8is found by the elections official.

9(2) In those counties which are required under the provisions
10of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as extended by Public
11Law 94-73, to furnish ballots in other than the English language,
12the posting of the facsimile ballot in that particular language shall
13not be required.

14(3) This subdivision shall remain in effect until the Secretary
15of State makes the determinations and findings required by this
16section.

17(b) In counties where the Secretary of State has determined that
18it is appropriate, each precinct board shall post, in a conspicuous
19location in the polling place, at least one facsimile copy of the
20ballot with the ballot measures and ballot instructions printed in
21Spanish. If the Secretary of State determines that it is appropriate
22to post the election materials in Spanish in only certain precincts
23in the county, the material shall be posted in the polling places
24situated in those precincts. Facsimile ballots shall also be printed
25in other languages and posted in the same manner if a significant
26and substantial need is found by the Secretary of State.

27(c) In determining whether it is appropriate to post the election
28materials in Spanish or other languages, the Secretary of State
29shall determine the number of residents of voting age in each
30county and precinct who are members of a single language
31minority, and who lack sufficient skills in English to vote without
32assistance. If the number of these residents equals 3 percent or
33more of the voting age residents of a particular county or precinct,
34or in the event that interested citizens or organizations provide the
35Secretary of State with information which gives the Secretary of
36State sufficient reason to believe a need for the furnishing of
37facsimile ballots, the Secretary of State shall find a need to post
38at least one facsimile copy of the ballot with the ballot measures
P3    1and ballot instructions printed in Spanish or other applicable
2language in the affected polling places.

3(d) begin insert(1)end insertbegin insertend insert The Secretary of State shall make the determinations
4and findings set forth in subdivisions (b) and (c) by January 1 of
5each year in which the Governor is elected.

6begin insert (2)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertThe Secretary of State shall notify a county elections official
7at least 24 months before the Secretary of State will begin making
8the determination whether it is appropriate to post the election
9materials in Spanish or other languages.end insert

10(e) In those precincts where ballots printed in a language other
11than English are available for use by the voters at the polls, the
12posting of a facsimile ballot in that particular language shall not
13be required.

14(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that non-English-speaking
15citizens, like all other citizens, should be encouraged to vote.
16Therefore, appropriate efforts should be made on a statewide basis
17to minimize obstacles to voting by citizens who lack sufficient
18skill in English to vote without assistance.



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