House Republican effort to eliminate bilingual ballots

The Los Angeles Times ran this story yesterday, detailing the efforts by 56 House Republicans to let the bilingual balloting provisions of the Voting Rights Act expire.

The reasoning behind these efforts is:

The 56 lawmakers support the act, but say the language assistance to voters — provided throughout much of California — undermines national unity, increases the risk of election fraud, and puts an undue burden on state and local governments.

“We believe these ballot provisions encourage the linguistic division of our nation and contradict the ‘melting pot’ ideal that has made us the most successful multiethnic nation on Earth,” the members said in a letter earlier this year.

However, as the story also notes, these legislators are unlikely to achieve their goal, due to electoral politics — Republicans want to keep attracting Hispanic votes.

No doubt, the need in many election jurisdictions to provide balloting materials in English and other languages does add to the complexity of election administration. We’ve seen that time and again in our election observing efforts, especially in Southern California.

But as far as I know there isn’t any evidence that bilingual ballots have themselves led to a heightened risk of election fraud in any of the jurisdictions that currently are required to offer them. If readers have citations to cases where bilingual ballots have themselves been utilized to commit election fraud, please pass them along.