42 U.S. Code § 1973aa–1a - Bilingual election requirements

(a) Congressional findings and declaration of policy
The Congress finds that, through the use of various practices and procedures, citizens of language minorities have been effectively excluded from participation in the electoral process. Among other factors, the denial of the right to vote of such minority group citizens is ordinarily directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation. The Congress declares that, in order to enforce the guarantees of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, it is necessary to eliminate such discrimination by prohibiting these practices, and by prescribing other remedial devices.
(b) Bilingual voting materials requirement
(1) Generally
Before August 6, 2032, no covered State or political subdivision shall provide voting materials only in the English language.
(2) Covered States and political subdivisions
(A) Generally
A State or political subdivision is a covered State or political subdivision for the purposes of this subsection if the Director of the Census determines, based on the 2010 American Community Survey census data and subsequent American Community Survey data in 5-year increments, or comparable census data, that—
(i)
(I) more than 5 percent of the citizens of voting age of such State or political subdivision are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient;
(II) more than 10,000 of the citizens of voting age of such political subdivision are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient; or
(III) in the case of a political subdivision that contains all or any part of an Indian reservation, more than 5 percent of the American Indian or Alaska Native citizens of voting age within the Indian reservation are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient; and
(ii) the illiteracy rate of the citizens in the language minority as a group is higher than the national illiteracy rate.
(B) Exception
The prohibitions of this subsection do not apply in any political subdivision that has less than 5 percent voting age limited-English proficient citizens of each language minority which comprises over 5 percent of the statewide limited-English proficient population of voting age citizens, unless the political subdivision is a covered political subdivision independently from its State.
(3) Definitions
As used in this section—
(A) the term “voting materials” means registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots;
(B) the term “limited-English proficient” means unable to speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process;
(C) the term “Indian reservation” means any area that is an American Indian or Alaska Native area, as defined by the Census Bureau for the purposes of the 1990 decennial census;
(D) the term “citizens” means citizens of the United States; and
(E) the term “illiteracy” means the failure to complete the 5th primary grade.
(4) Special rule
The determinations of the Director of the Census under this subsection shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register and shall not be subject to review in any court.
(c) Requirement of voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials and ballots in minority language
Whenever any State or political subdivision subject to the prohibition of subsection (b) of this section provides any registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, it shall provide them in the language of the applicable minority group as well as in the English language: Provided, That where the language of the applicable minority group is oral or unwritten or in the case of Alaskan natives and American Indians, if the predominant language is historically unwritten, the State or political subdivision is only required to furnish oral instructions, assistance, or other information relating to registration and voting.
(d) Action for declaratory judgment permitting English-only materials
Any State or political subdivision subject to the prohibition of subsection (b) of this section, which seeks to provide English-only registration or voting materials or information, including ballots, may file an action against the United States in the United States District Court for a declaratory judgment permitting such provision. The court shall grant the requested relief if it determines that the illiteracy rate of the applicable language minority group within the State or political subdivision is equal to or less than the national illiteracy rate.
(e) Definitions
For purposes of this section, the term “language minorities” or “language minority group” means persons who are American Indian, Asian American, Alaskan Natives, or of Spanish heritage.

Source

(Pub. L. 89–110, title II, § 203, as added Pub. L. 94–73, title III, § 301,Aug. 6, 1975, 89 Stat. 402; amended Pub. L. 97–205, §§ 2(d), 4,June 29, 1982, 96 Stat. 134; Pub. L. 102–344, § 2,Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 921; Pub. L. 109–246, §§ 7, 8,July 27, 2006, 120 Stat. 581.)
Amendments

2006—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 109–246, § 7, substituted “2032” for “2007”.
Subsec. (b)(2)(A). Pub. L. 109–246, § 8, substituted “the 2010 American Community Survey census data and subsequent American Community Survey data in 5-year increments, or comparable census data” for “census data” in introductory provisions.
1992—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–344amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows: “Prior to August 6, 1992, no State or political subdivision shall provide registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, only in the English language if the Director of the Census determines (i) that more than 5 percent of the citizens of voting age of such State or political subdivision are members of a single language minority and (ii) that the illiteracy rate of such persons as a group is higher than the national illiteracy rate: Provided, That the prohibitions of this subsection shall not apply in any political subdivision which has less than five percent voting age citizens of each language minority which comprises over five percent of the statewide population of voting age citizens. For purposes of this subsection, illiteracy means the failure to complete the fifth primary grade. The determinations of the Director of the Census under this subsection shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register and shall not be subject to review in any court.”
1982—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 97–205, § 4, substituted “Prior to August 6, 1992” for “Prior to August 6, 1985”.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 97–205, § 2(d), inserted “and American Indians” after “Alaskan natives”.
Effective Date of 1982 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 97–205effective June 29, 1982, see section 6 ofPub. L. 97–205, set out as a note under section 1973 of this title.
Extension to August 6, 1992, of Prohibition on Use of Voting Instructions, Assistance, or Other Materials or Information in English Only; Limitations Based on 1980 Census and Subsequent Census Data

Pub. L. 97–205, § 4,June 29, 1982, 96 Stat. 134, provided in part that: “[T]he extension made by this section [amending subsec. (b) of this section] shall apply only to determinations made by the Director of the Census under clause (i) of section 203 (b) [subsec. (b)(i) of this section] for members of a single language minority who do not speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process when such a determination can be made by the Director of the Census based on the 1980 and subsequent census data.”

The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An empty table indicates that we see no relevant changes listed in the classification tables. If you suspect that our system may be missing something, please double-check with the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.

42 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

This is a list of parts within the Code of Federal Regulations for which this US Code section provides rulemaking authority.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


28 CFR - Judicial Administration

28 CFR Part 55 - IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT REGARDING LANGUAGE MINORITY GROUPS

 

LII has no control over and does not endorse any external Internet site that contains links to or references LII.