United States Election Assistance Comittee

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EAC Issues Voter Guides in Native American and Alaska Native Languages

Posted on May 7, 2010

View the Guides

WASHINGTON- Citizens who speak Cherokee, Dakota, Navajo and Yup'ik, the most commonly spoken Native American and Alaska Native languages in the U.S., will now have access to federal election voter guides in their native languages.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Language Assistance Program translated the guides to improve voting accessibility for Americans who speak these languages and have limited English proficiency.

The guide explains the basics of ballot casting as well as special voting procedures, such as early voting, absentee voting, and military and overseas voting.

“Part of EAC’s mandate under the Help America Vote Act is to assist states in making voting more accessible to all citizens. These translations are important in carrying out this work,” said EAC Chair Donetta Davidson.

EAC assembled a working group composed of local election officials, representatives from advocacy groups, inter-tribal council members, and representatives from the Department of Justice to help identify the language needs of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2006-2008 American Community Survey, roughly 220,500 Americans speak one of these four languages. A large majority reside in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

EAC’s Language Assistance Program has also translated voter guides and other election materials--including election terminology glossaries and the National Mail Voter Registration Form--into Spanish and the five most commonly spoken Asian languages in the U.S.: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

All of EAC’s language resources for voters and election officials can be accessed free of charge at www.eac.gov.

EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act. EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The three EAC commissioners are Donetta Davidson, chair; Gineen Bresso; and Gracia Hillman. There is one vacancy on the commission.