Language Minority Provisions of the Voting Right Act

The U.S. population is becoming increasingly diverse. Many regions have significant populations for which English is not their first language, to address this the Voting Rights Act was amended to include the minority language provisions of section 203.

Section 203 of the VRA requires registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, to be provided in the language of an applicable minority in jurisdiction where:

citizens of voting age in a single language group within the jurisdiction:

  • Is more than 10,000, or
  • Is more than five percent of all voting age citizens, or
  • On an Indian reservation, exceeds five percent of all reservation residents; and
  • The illiteracy rate of the group is higher than the national illiteracy rate

The director of the U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for determining which jurisdictions fit these criteria. The most recent list of jurisdictions was released in October 2011.


Categories: Basics, Voting Rights Act

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