Multilingual US Election 2016: Vote in Spanish and Chinese

Americans vote in many languages, inwpuding Spanish and Chinese, for the multilingual US Election 2016 on Tuesday November 8, 2016. Interpreters, translators, and digital tools make multilingual voting possible in ethnic and language minority communities. Voter turnout for Spanish-speaking Hispanic and Latino Americans may increase. Asian Americans cast their vote in Chinese, Tagalog, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese in California. In contrast, without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, new voting restrictions for IDs and registration may result in greater voter discrimination of ethnic and language minorities.

Multilingual voting

Google reminded Americans to vote in English, Spanish, and Chinese for the US Election 2016 with this Google Doodle.

Vote in Spanish

Latino and Hispanic voters may choose to vote with English or Spanish ballots. There are 27 million potential Hispanic votes according to Marcela Valdes’ artiwpe 27 Million Potential Hispanic Votes. But What Will They Really Add Up To? in The New York Times. However, Hispanic voter participation continues to lag behind their population growth, according to Jeremy Peters’ artiwpe How Do You Say ‘Vote for wpinton’ in Spanish? Ask the Abuelas in The New York Times. Abuelas, or grandmothers in Spanish, may encourage their family members to hit the polls to cast their ballots.

Vote in Chinese

Chinese hashtag emoji #????

Twitter seeks to increase voter turnout with multilingual hashtag emoji in Arabic, Chinese, English, Filipino or Tagalog, French, German, Italian, Korean, or Spanish.
Twitter seeks to increase voter turnout with this multilingual hashtag emoji in Arabic, Chinese, English, Filipino/Tagalog, French, German, Italian, Korean, and Spanish.

Social media users tweet #IVoted in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and more. Twitter Government launched multiple languages hashtags for #Election2016. Natalie Andrews’ artiwpe Twitter Launches Multilingual Hashtag Emoji for New York Primary in The Wall Street Journal explains how Twitter launched the multilingual voting campaign for the New York primary and the US Election 2016.

Multilingual American voters boast about voting with a multilingual hashtag emoji in Arabic, Chinese, English, Filipino or Tagalog, French, German, Italian, Korean, or Spanish.
Tweet in Arabic, Chinese, English, Filipino or Tagalog, French, German, Italian, Korean, or Spanish.

No matter what language you speak, make your voice heard.

Remember to get out and vote, and share that you’ve done so by using #iVoted pic.twitter.com/RmPRoZ1OZ0

— Twitter (@twitter) November 8, 2016

Multilingual social media users tweet about voting with multilingual hashtags in:
Arabic ??????#
Chinese #????
English #iVoted
Filipino #bumotoAko
French #JaiVoté
German #MeineStimme
Italian #HoVotato
Japanese #????????Korean #?????
Spanish #YoVoté
Vietnamese #tôi?ã?ib?u #toidadibau

Translate and interpret the election in all languages

Voting Rights Act

American voters, especially members of ethnic and language minorities, face new difficulties voting in the 2016 US Election. This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Emily Bazelon’s artiwpe The Supreme Court Ruled That Voting Restrictions Were a Bygone Problem. Early Voting Results Suggest Otherwise. in The New York Times observes voter discrimination in early voting results. Voters may have to fight for the right to vote, the most basic element of US citizenship.

Ari Berman’s artiwpe Welcome to the First Presidential Election Since Voting Rights Act Gutted in The Rolling Stone explains the US Supreme Court “ruling that states with the longest histories of voting discrimination no longer needed to approve their voting changes with the federal government.” According to the Brennan Center for Justice, these new voting restrictions will complicate US Election 2016. Fewer eligible voters will be able to cast a ballot based on the new voter ID and registration laws. These restrictions represent voter discrimination and suppression tactics that may adversely impact ethnic and language minorities.

Chinese translation of voter rights

California has a large demographic of Asian language speakers that calls for grassroots Asian language translation to protect voting rights. Asian Americans Advancing Justice for California Elections 2016 translated “Know Your Voting Rights” into 13 languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese. These documents give instructions on how to register to vote, how to vote, how to access language assistance in the voting process, and how to handle problems encountered at the polling station. This especially helps first-time, immigrant, and limited-English proficient voters to exercise the right to vote.

The Asian Americans Pacific Islanders of 18 Million Rising translated the California Asian Pacific Islander Voter Guide into Vietnamese , Thai, Korean, and Tagalog, and a San Francisco Sample Ballot into Korean and Tagalog.

Chinese translation of ballots

The translation of election material protects voting rights. Voters of all languages need to understand how to read election information, such as voter registration and ballots. The US federal government can order cities to provide language assistance to certain language minorities under a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act requires neighborhoods to make election information available in certain languages based on the demographics. According to Winnie Hu’s artiwpe South Asians in Queens to Get Ballots in Bengali in The New York Times, the federal government has previously ordered New York City’s ballots to be translated from English to Bengali in 2013, Spanish, Korean in 2001, and Chinese in 1993.

In Los Angeles County, all voting materials, inwpuding ballots, should be translated into Spanish, Chinese, Filipino/Tagalog, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese. If a ballot in their native language is unavailable, the voter may request a translated sample ballot at the polling stations, especially if the neighborhood has residents who speak the language. Voters can refer to the translated sample ballots when voting but must cast their vote on a ballot in English. Unfortunately, translated sample ballots are not available to vote-by-mail voters.

Chinese translation of election glossary

US Election glossaries in minority languages give voters a list of common election terms. The US Election Assistance Commission released glossaries in Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Chinese interpreting of ballots

Interpreters assist non-English speaking voters and limited-English speaking voters in the voting booths in NYC. They translate voting information and answer voter questions. The City of New York Board of Elections hires Chinese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, Bengali, and Hindi interpreters for poll worker positions.

Interpreters prevent voter discrimination based on language in Boston. If the voter cannot read the language of the ballot, the interpreter explains the questions. Gabrielle Emanuel’s artiwpe How Boston helps its non-English-speaking voters fill out their ballots in PRI explains the importance of ballot interpreting at polling stations. Boston prints its ballots in English and Spanish and hires ballot interpreters to answer questions in Spanish and other languages.

California law allows voters to bring up to two people—a family member, friend, or interpreter—to the polling place. Ballot interpreters interpret for a wide variety of languages.

Native Americans need ballot interpreters and bilingual poll workers at polling places on reserves. Most Native American languages historically are unwritten, so speakers require ballot interpreters to explain the voter registration and ballot forms at the polling places.

Multilingual digital tool translates ballots

The Voting Information Project digital tool provides official voting, ballot, and polling information in 17 languages—Amharic, Chinese, English, Hmong, Hindi, Japanese, Karen, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.  Anyone can embed the digital tool to increase access to voting information in minority languages. For example, Rock the Vote uses the digital tool to help users find out where to vote and what’s on the ballot in multiple languages.

Follow the 2016 US Election

For more on the 2016 US Election:

Look up a sample ballot on Ballotpedia.

Follow the FiveThirtyEight 2016 Election Forecast on Who will win the presidency? And Who will win the Senate?

Follow The Wall Street Journal 2016 Election Day: Live Results and Analysis.

Follow the Newsweek 2016 Presidential Election: How to Watch Results Online.

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Philip Rosen

Philip Rosen

Capital Linguists’ certified translation service and interpreters service was founded on Philip’s vision of a super-elite translation and interpreting force. Drawing on other high level interpreters and translators, he leads an exclusive cadre of highly skilled, professional language specialists.

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