Culver City : Ballot Changes OKd

In conformance with a 1982 change in the federal Voting Rights Act, the Culver City Council on Monday eliminated Spanish-language ballot translations formerly provided automatically to voters who do not read English.

The change in the law, which also eliminates Chinese-language ballots, has drawn fire from Latino and Asian-American advocacy groups and civil rights organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union.

Instead of foreign-language ballots being provided automatically to Spanish- and Chinese-speaking American citizens, they will be available to voters who ask for them at City Hall or at polling places.

Foreign-language ballots are still mandatory in 10 California counties where more than 5% of the population has been identified as not being able to understand English well enough to read the ballot.

There was no opposition to the elimination of the Spanish-language ballots at the council meeting.

City Clerk Pauline C. Dolce said the city expects to save "several thousand dollars" by not printing the bilingual ballots. Candidates may obtain Spanish translation of their ballot statement if they pay for it, she said.

Dolce said she is not sure how many of the city's 21,235 registered voters will be affected by the change in procedure.

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