Language Access for Voters Summit 2021

February 17, 2022

Removing Language Barriers from the Voting Process

Democracy Fund’s Language Access for Voters Summit is an annual event that aims to remove language barriers from the voting process. The 2021 convening was held Dec. 13-14, 2021, following the Dec. 8th release of the Census Bureau’s new Section 203 language determinations under the Voting Rights Act—which provide language assistance in U.S. elections.

To help election officials navigate and implement the necessary changes, the agenda included discussions with local, state and federal election officials, voting rights advocates, and translation experts. Participants shared pragmatic ideas, tools, and best practices for providing language assistance—focusing officials’ immediate needs in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections.

Celebrating the Diversity of Languages in the United States

The two-day event featured a collection of speaker-submitted videos in Armenian, Bengali, Dine’ (Navajo), English, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Yup’ik. These represent a small sample of the languages election officials provide voter assistance for across the United States.

Speakers read the 2020 Presidential Election ballot in various languages from their jurisdictions, highlighted the critical value of language and culture integration in formal settings like polling places, and shared personal stories of how language access has played a role in their own life or someone they love.

The topics, presentations, materials and resources for each day of the Dec. 2021 summit can be viewed and downloaded below.

Language Access: The Law & Requirements

Day One

The governing federal laws and the role of the Census in language access for voters

Explore the presentations slide deck, speaker biographies and videos, or download the English and Spanish transcripts.

Strategies for Compliance & Success

Day Two

Learn implementation strategies and insights for a successful voter assistance program

Explore the presentations slide deck, speaker biographies and featured videos, or download the English or Spanish transcript.

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