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Online voter registration now in 10 languages

By Josh Richman
Monday, April 21st, 2014 at 1:49 pm in voter registration.

Californians can now do online voter registration in 10 languages, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced Monday.

In addition to the English and Spanish versions already available, the Secretary of State’s office has now added Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese. Also, the has been redesigned to be simpler and more user-friendly, with better accessibility features for people with disabilities.

“After moving some mountains to quickly launch online voter registration in time for the 2012 presidential election season, I wanted to see what could be done to make it even better,” Bowen said in a news release. “This enhanced application is a result of in-depth collaboration among dozens of experts in cultural, language, disability access, elections and technology issues, along with local officials and the California State University Accessible Technology Initiative. I am grateful to them all for their valuable input.”

Community advocates had pushed for this expansion, noting that Asian Americans in California tend to have a relatively low voter registration rate.

“California has millions of immigrant citizens who are still learning English, citizens we need as full participants in our democracy,” Michelle Romero, director of the Greenlining Institute’s Claiming Our Democracy program, said in a news release. “This is an important step to help bridge the voter registration gap in communities of color.”

The information provided in a voter application still must be checked by a county registrar before an applicant can be added to the voter rolls; voters can check on their own registration status using the state’s portal to county offices. Monday, May 19 is the voter registration deadline for the upcoming June 3 primary election.

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  • RRSenileColumnist

    Groovy! People who can’t read English are at the mercy of phones who can. Ok Libertarians, bone up on Hindi!

  • Willis James

    They should have included Russian.
    I’m fearful that if enough Russian speaking Californians say they are being treated unfairly, denied rights, it will give Putin a pretext to invade.

  • JohnW

    53 languages spoken in Alameda County.

  • JohnW

    Well, they don’t call it the Russian River for nothing.

  • Willis James

    Fort Ross was a Russian settlement from 1812 to 1842. I’ll bet more than a few residents yearn for Mother Russia.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    Zut alors! No French — guess this cheese-eating, foie-gras-finder can’t register to vote!