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EAC to Provide Spanish Language Glossary of Election Terms

Posted on April 18, 2007

Kansas City, MO – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today voted to adopt a glossary that provides a translation of key election terms from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English. The glossary is available at www.eac.gov and EAC will distribute copies to jurisdictions throughout the nation.

"We had an obligation to update this helpful tool for Spanish-speaking voters and the election officials who serve them, and I am very pleased to announce we have gotten the job done," said EAC Chair Donetta Davidson. "Thank you to staff and everyone who helped us update this glossary for the first time since 1979.

"But our work is not done -- next we will translate this glossary in other languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog to ensure that election officials have the tools they need to help all of America’s voters successfully cast their vote."

The Glossary of Key Election Terminology contains 1,843 terms and phrases used in the administration of elections in the United States. To ensure the translations were culturally and linguistically appropriate, terms were translated and reviewed by a multi-dialect team of translators representing four of the main regions of origin of the Hispanic population living in the U.S. Those regions are Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Central America.

The update of the glossary is the first project released under EAC’s Language Accessibility Program, which consists of working groups comprised of local election officials, Congressional staff, national advocacy groups, and research and public policy organizations to advise the commission how to best meet language accessibility requirements. Future activities include translating the glossary and the national voter registration form in five Asian languages and the formation of working groups to address the election needs of American Indians and Alaskan natives.

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) instructs EAC to study and promote methods of ensuring the accessibility of voting, registration, polling places, and voting equipment to all voters, including Native American and Alaska Native citizens and voters with limited proficiency in the English language. These provisions also charge EAC with examining the technical feasibility of providing voting materials in eight or more languages for voters who speak those languages and who have limited English proficiency.

A Glossary of Common Spanish Election Terminology, the first version of a national glossary of Spanish election terms, was published by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in 1979. The glossary was part of a three-volume series providing guidance to election officials for identifying their language minority populations, providing bilingual registration services, and providing bilingual balloting services.

EAC is an independent bipartisan commission created by HAVA. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, implementing election administration improvements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment and serving as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. The four EAC commissioners are Donetta Davidson, chair; Rosemary E. Rodriguez, vice chair; Caroline Hunter and Gracia Hillman.