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Ballot options might change

Robert Chacon

Voting materials might soon be available in Armenian, if the county

follows through on a motion made Tuesday by Los Angeles County

Supervisor Michael Antonovich to analyze the need and cost for such

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ballots.

Community groups have talked to Antonovich several times about the

need for voting materials in Armenian, spokeswoman Rita

Hadjimanoukian said.

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“The motion comes from input by his staff, the community and media

reports. [Antonovich] feels it is the right thing to do,” she said.

Antonovich’s district includes Burbank, which has about 15,000

Armenian Americans.

The county has already started to work on Antonovich’s request,

said Conny McCormack, registrar-recorder and county clerk.

Based on U.S. Census figures, the federal government decides every

10 years in which languages to print voting materials. Voting

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materials are printed in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog

and Vietnamese.

“We’ll have to study the whole county to determine if we’ll do the

translation [into Armenian],” McCormack said. “It’s very expensive to

translate voting materials.”

The county spends $3 million to $6 million to translate voting

materials into foreign languages during elections, McCormack said.

Most of the cost is incurred by printing and distribution.

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Under federal laws, voting materials do not have to be translated

into Eastern European languages, which include Armenian, she said.

The county tries to hire poll workers who speak in a precinct’s

predominant language, however.

“This is an encouraging first step that the supervisor has taken,”

said Ardashes Kassakhian, director of government relations for the

Armenian National Committee’s Western Region in Glendale.

His committee has worked with Antonovich to have voting materials

translated, Kassakhian said.

The county will report back to the Board of Supervisors within 30

days with a recommendation on the motion.


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