Breaking Barriers to the Ballot Box: Expanding Language Access for California Voters

By Common Cause et al

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Our democracy is under real and urgent threat, from rampant disinformation and a surge in voter suppression legislation to politicians deliberately showing distrust in election outcomes in order to maintain their own power. And while the state of California and counties in California have adopted various pro-democracy voting practices and procedures, reforms such as vote-by-mail ballots and ballot drop boxes are only beneficial if voters receive election materials in a language they understand.

This report explores four key aspects of language access in California elections: the voting experience, federal and state laws, the importance of in-language materials, and data limitations for identifying populations in California who use non-English languages.

The report, the first of its kind, provides a roadmap to ensure that all voters, regardless of their English language proficiency, can vote fairly and equally.

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