Essays on Language Assistance under the VRA
This chapter includes five essays about language assistance by commentators who have enforced the VRA’s bilingual elections mandate, lobbied on its extension, and proposed changes to its scope to be more inclusive. In the first essay, Terry Ao examines barriers to LEP Asian American voters and how language assistance under the VRA makes voting more accessible to those voters with the assistance of advocacy groups such as the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC). But not every group that needs language assistance gets it, as Jocelyn Friedrichs Benson details in the second essay about LEP Arab American U.S. citizens who are not covered by Section 203. In the third essay, Ana Henderson offers a perspective from the field as a litigator at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Voting Section, detailing her observations of how jurisdictions have implemented the bilingual elections mandate. Glenn Magpantay follows in the fourth essay by discussing several exit surveys of LEP Asian American voters by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). John Tanner completes the essays with his discussion of his experience as Chief of the Voting Section, overseeing more enforcement actions under the language assistance provisions than any of his predecessors.