LAS VEGAS — In partnership with the Culinary Union, the Asian Community Development Council, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and Silver State Voices, All Voting is Local released Ballots for All: Improving Language Access for Nevada Voters in both English and Spanish to highlight the need for translated ballots and voter education materials in the state. The group’s analysis of geographic and census data revealed nearly half a million Nevadans over 18 speak a language other than English, with over 125,000 of them being Limited English Proficient (LEP), underscoring the need for more counties to provide voting materials in the languages voters speak. The report urges Nevada election officials to provide more voting materials in: Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, and Amharic.
“By providing translated ballots and materials in the different languages spoken by the diverse communities in the state, we can eliminate the language barrier when it comes to voting, and ensure access to the ballot for a significant number of Nevadans,” said Mary Janet Ramos, Nevada Campaign Manager for All Voting is Local. “Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske and the state legislature must do more to make voting accessible for these Nevada voters.”
“The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx/Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Nevada has led the nation in making it easier to vote. The Culinary Union urges elected officials to continue the effort to make voting more accessible and equitable by translating election and voter education materials into as many languages as possible.”
“It is critical for us to take proactive steps toward language access and equity at all levels. The diversity of the AANHPI community in Nevada only highlights the need for language access,” said Eric Jeng, Director of Outreach for the Asian Community Development Council. “Not providing translated ballots and voter materials in different languages forces households who are experiencing language barriers to rely on friends and family to help translate their ballots in order to vote.”
“We know how deeply important it is that all voters, regardless of their native languages, have equal access to the ballot box – that all voices be heard,” said Victoria Ruiz-Marin, Public Affairs Manager for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “The 2020 census showed us that Nevada is the third most diverse state in the nation. The time for true language accessibility at the ballot box, for all Nevada communities, is now.”
“According to the American Community Survey five year estimate (2015-2020) 19.4% of Nevada residents are foreign born,” said Emily Persaud-Zamora, Executive Director for Silver State Voices and leader of the Let Nevadans Vote coalition. “In Clark County School District alone, 79 different languages are spoken. It’s imperative that our election materials are translated to the languages we’re calling for; we must provide voters with the tools they need to have their voices heard at the ballot box.”
According to the report, the lack of translated and accessible election materials creates unnecessary barriers to the ballot. Voters cast their ballots with the intention to elect leaders who will weigh in on issues they care about and impact them directly, regardless of the language they speak. To dismantle this barrier, translated voter education information and election updates and the encouragement of county clerks to provide the translated materials on the websites and in printed form is the right step forward.
Ballots for All: Improving Language Access for Nevada Voters can be viewed in English here and Spanish here.