Amended in Assembly March 26, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1443


Introduced by Assembly Member Chau

February 27, 2015


An act tobegin delete amend Section 14201 ofend deletebegin insert add Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 2600) to Division 2 ofend insert the Elections Code, relating to begin deletevoting rightsend deletebegin insert votersend insert.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1443, as amended, Chau. begin deleteVoting rights: language assistanceend deletebegin insert Voters: language accessibilityend insert.

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Existing law establishes the Secretary of State as the chief elections officer of the state and requires that he or she ensure that elections are efficiently conducted and that state election laws are enforced. Existing law declares the intent of the Legislature that non-English-speaking citizens, like all other citizens, should be encouraged to vote and that appropriate efforts should be made to minimize obstacles to voting by citizens who lack sufficient skill in English to vote without assistance.

end insert
begin insert

This bill would require the Secretary of State to establish a Language Accessibility Advisory Committee. The committee would consist of the Secretary of State, his or her designees, and additional members appointed by the Secretary of State who either have demonstrated language accessibility experience or are county elections officials. The bill would require the Secretary of State to consult with and consider the recommendations of the committee.

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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.

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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.

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

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

P2    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

end insert

begin insertChapter 8 (commencing with Section 2600) is
2added to Division 2 of the end insert
begin insertElections Codeend insertbegin insert, to read:end insert

begin insert

3 

4Chapter  begin insert8.end insert Language Accessibility
5

 

6

begin insert2600.end insert  

The Secretary of State shall establish a Language
7Accessibility Advisory Committee. The committee shall consist of
8the Secretary of State and his or her designee or designees and
9additional members appointed by the Secretary of State. The
10appointees shall either have demonstrated language accessibility
11experience or be a county elections official. The Secretary of State
12shall consult with and consider the recommendations of the
13committee. The committee shall serve in an advisory capacity to
14the Secretary of State.

end insert
begin delete
15

SECTION 1.  

Section 14201 of the Elections Code is amended
16to read:

17

14201.  

(a) (1) The precinct board shall post, in a conspicuous
18location in the polling place, at least one facsimile copy of the
19ballot with the ballot measures and ballot instructions printed in
20Spanish. Facsimile ballots shall also be printed in other languages
P3    1and posted in the same manner if a significant and substantial need
2is found by the elections official.

3(2) In those counties which are required under the provisions
4of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as extended by Public
5Law 94-73, to furnish ballots in other than the English language,
6the posting of the facsimile ballot in that particular language shall
7not be required.

8(3) This subdivision shall remain in effect until the Secretary
9of State makes the determinations and findings required by this
10section.

11(b) In counties where the Secretary of State has determined that
12it is appropriate, each precinct board shall post, in a conspicuous
13location in the polling place, at least one facsimile copy of the
14ballot with the ballot measures and ballot instructions printed in
15Spanish. If the Secretary of State determines that it is appropriate
16to post the election materials in Spanish in only certain precincts
17in the county, the material shall be posted in the polling places
18situated in those precincts. Facsimile ballots shall also be printed
19in other languages and posted in the same manner if a significant
20and substantial need is found by the Secretary of State.

21(c) In determining whether it is appropriate to post the election
22materials in Spanish or other languages, the Secretary of State
23shall determine the number of residents of voting age in each
24county and precinct who are members of a single language
25minority, and who lack sufficient skills in English to vote without
26assistance. If the number of these residents equals 3 percent or
27more of the voting age residents of a particular county or precinct,
28or in the event that interested citizens or organizations provide the
29Secretary of State with information which gives the Secretary of
30State sufficient reason to believe a need for the furnishing of
31facsimile ballots, the Secretary of State shall find a need to post
32at least one facsimile copy of the ballot with the ballot measures
33and ballot instructions printed in Spanish or other applicable
34language in the affected polling places.

35(d) (1) The Secretary of State shall make the determinations
36and findings set forth in subdivisions (b) and (c) by January 1 of
37each year in which the Governor is elected.

38 (2) The Secretary of State shall notify a county elections official
39at least 24 months before the Secretary of State will begin making
P4    1the determination whether it is appropriate to post the election
2materials in Spanish or other languages.

3(e) In those precincts where ballots printed in a language other
4than English are available for use by the voters at the polls, the
5posting of a facsimile ballot in that particular language shall not
6be required.

7(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that non-English-speaking
8citizens, like all other citizens, should be encouraged to vote.
9Therefore, appropriate efforts should be made on a statewide basis
10to minimize obstacles to voting by citizens who lack sufficient
11skill in English to vote without assistance.

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