Language Rights in Voting

Voting can be a complicated process for anyone. For citizens whose first language is not English, the process is even more difficult to navigate. Nearly one-third of Asian Americans have some difficulty communicating in English, making voting that much more intimidating. Voters have rights to assistance in voting if they have difficulty communicating in English.

section 208

1-888-API-Vote: Call for in-language help on Election Day

On Election Day,  Advancing Justice | AAJC and APIA Vote will be administering a national Asian-language Election Protection hotline, 1-888-API-VOTE or 1-888-274-8683. Voters can call in from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, and volunteers will be available to assist in Bengali/Bangla, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

You may have the right to in-language assistance and materials when you vote

Congress enacted Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act in 1975.

Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain counties and jurisdictions to provide bilingual voting materials in communities with language minorities and limited-English proficient residents, was enacted by Congress in 1975 upon recognizing that certain minority citizens experienced historical discrimination and disenfranchisement due to limited English proficiency. This means that all information provided in English must also be provided in the covered languages, including written materials, oral assistance at polling sites, and publicity prior to Election Day about the availability of language assistance at polling sites.

Find out more about Section 203, whether your county or city is covered, and what materials might be available to you.

You have the right to bring someone to help you in the voting booth

One tool that LEP voters can easily use to participate in elections is to bring someone to help in the voting booth. Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) allows voters needing assistance because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write, including voters who have difficulty with English, to bring someone into the voting booth to help them understand and cast a ballot. Download our translated fact sheet on how Section 208 can help you:

Chinese (Simplified) (中文 (简) )
Chinese (Traditional) (中文 (繁) )
Bangla (বাংলা)
Hindi (हिंदी)
Japanese (日本語)
Khmer (ខ្មែរ)
Korean (한국어)
Vietnamese (tiếng Việt)