Garrett Offers Amendment to Sunset Multilingual Ballots
Today, Congressman Scott Garrett proposed an amendment to H.R. 9, which reauthorizes the Voting Rights Act. Current language of the bill mandates for the next 25 years that local governments produce multilingual ballots when five percent of the voting population is determined to potentially not be English proficient. Congressman Garrett's amendment was offered as a compromise to permit reasonable Congressional review of this unfunded mandate after six years.
"In my opinion, multilingual ballots are unnecessary and open a potential door for fraud," said Garrett. "But, if Congress is going to require local governments to use multilingual ballots whenever five percent of the voting population might potentially speak another language, then Congress should be reviewing the utility of the program."
The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act was expected to come to the House floor last month. Garrett offered the same amendment then, but it was not made in order by the House Rules Committee, and the bill was ultimately postponed.
This afternoon, the House Rules Committee ruled that the Garrett amendment will not be made in order for debate, but an amendment to fully eliminate multilingual ballots, which Garrett supports, will be considered.
Garrett further stated, "Proficiency in the English language is required for naturalized citizenship, and there are already provisions in the law to help people with reasonable difficulties reading ballots, such as the blind, so for whom are we printing these ballots?