DECATUR, GA—DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections (DeKalb VRE) made history in 2020 by becoming the first Georgia county to translate voter materials in Spanish and Korean voluntarily. Expanding access to information for Limited English Proficient (LEP) communities has allowed county officials to share important information about voting options while also providing a composite ballot in the two additional languages.
In partnership with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta and GALEO, DeKalb VRE is continuing to offer translated materials with important information on the upcoming May 24 primary election and plans to continue translations through the runoff cycle and the November General Election.
“Every voter should be heard, no matter what language they speak. We applaud DeKalb County for paving the way for increased language access for Georgia voters and are pleased that other counties are following their example. We look forward to continuing to push for greater access for all of our diverse communities,” said Phi Nguyen, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta.
Ramses Jimenez, community organizer for GALEO stated, “As we continue to fight for accessibility for non-English speakers in Georgia, we are excited to partner with Dekalb County to ensure all voters are educated and informed. Society has ignored the marginalized voices for far too long, and we are excited to be part of the change!”
The translation of complex voting materials requires coordination among many people, partners, and advocates but DeKalb VRE is committed to the task.
“I’m thrilled to see DeKalb VRE once again embracing our diverse community and taking the extra step to ensure our non-English speaking residents are able to execute their constitutional right to vote,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, who helped spearhead the translation efforts in 2020. “It’s important that all eligible voters in DeKalb have access to voting and elections information.”
Before translated materials are shared with the public, DeKalb VRE’s community partners conduct a thorough review for accuracy and cultural sensitivity.
“We’re currently engaging with our communities to learn more about what types of tools people need, so we can ensure all voters in DeKalb feel informed and inspired to get out there and vote,” said Dele Lowman Smith, board chair for DeKalb County VRE. “We are committed to the voters of DeKalb County and look forward to expanding our translation program in the future.”
To access the voter information and sample composite ballots in Spanish and Korean, click here. Learn more about DeKalb VRE at www.DeKalbVotes.com.