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Is it necessary to print ballots in different languages? Why not just choose one?

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Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 12:00 am

Upon receipt of my Sample Ballot for the Consolidated General Election to take place on Nov. 2, 2010, I noticed that the booklet is printed in two separate languages: English and Spanish. Why? Also, why just Spanish in addition to English? Clearly we have immigrants who speak languages other than those legally emigrating from Mexico or any other nation that speaks Spanish, no?

Since the matter of illegal immigration has become a hot topic of late, therein also contains the answer. When anyone goes through the process to become a United States citizen, one of the requirements is that they be able to “... read, write, speak and understand simple words and phrases in English.” As such, the only reason I can fathom for producing this pamphlet in any other language is to placate those who are here illegally.

Yet that doesn’t make any sense since only those who ARE citizens are permitted to vote; there should be absolutely no good reason for the sample or actual ballot (and any information provided to explain them) to be printed in any other language.

The real solution would be to finally agree on a national language; and for the life of me I cannot understand why that wasn’t done a long time ago. Of course since the only way to do this would be to amend the U.S. Constitution, I submit that that is precisely what we should do — now!

Naturally, I have to ponder which language would be preferred as I believe that question would need to be determined first. We cannot simply assume that English would be the proper choice. As a natural-born citizen who speaks English, I know how I’d vote — a complicated issue to tackle that’s for certain, but one clearly worthy of our serious consideration.

In the meantime, since the actual ballots are currently printed in languages other than English, I think it would be appropriate for economic reasons to limit them to English only. After all, only those who should be filling them out need to understand them, right? But how insensitive, bigoted, and hateful would that appear?

Jerome Kinderman


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