FANNIE LOU HAMER, ROSA PARKS, AND CORETTA SCOTT KING VOTING RIGHTS ACT REAUTHORIZATION AND AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - July 13, 2006)
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Mr. CAMPBELL of California. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Iowa, and I am going to give you three reasons why we should support this amendment.
First is that it is an expensive, unfunded mandate on local governments. The county in which I live, Orange County, California, very diverse county, in the last cycle spent $600,000 on bilingual ballots when only seven-tenths of a percent, seven-tenths of a percent of the ballots requested were multilingual or bilingual ballots.
Secondly, the current law is discriminatory. In Orange County, California, we are required under the Voting Rights Act to print ballots in five languages, but yet in the school district where my kids went to school, which is only one city out of 35 cities in Orange County, there are 83 different languages spoken at home. So what about those other 78 language speakers? Aren't we discriminating against them by not putting out ballots in their languages, too?
Now, I happen to think it would be less discriminatory if they were only in English, because then everyone would have the same opportunity to understand the ballot as everyone else. But the point of this amendment is that that is for the county to decide. Some counties may not have 83 different languages, while others do. That is for them to decide.
And, third, I think it is interesting that the chairman brought up Chris Norby, a supervisor in Orange County, as being in opposition to this amendment. Chris Norby is actually very strongly in favor of this amendment. The issue that was discussed was the complexity of ballot initiatives.
Now, ballot initiatives, and California is kind of the hotbed of those things, and I personally have been involved in drafting them, but they are complex and they are complex to translate. That is the point.
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