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Voting Rights Advocates in Georgia Win Expanded Language Access for Critical Limited English Proficient (LEP) Swing Voters In Time for Election Day

DeKalb County Becomes First in State to Voluntarily Create Officially Translated Sample Ballots in Korean and Spanish

Atlanta, GA — Today the #DearGeorgia, It’s Time campaign led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta (Advancing Justice-Atlanta) and supported by more than 30 voting rights organizations announced new in-language voting resources including officially translated ballots in Korean and Spanish that are available immediately. DeKalb County becomes the first county in Georgia to offer an officially translated ballot in an Asian language, and in doing so, also becomes the first county to voluntarily take steps beyond those required by the federal Voting Rights Act to expand meaningful language access.

Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Advancing Justice-Atlanta, shared, “Today’s announcement marks a turning point for our fight to strengthen voting rights, ensuring that more Georgians will be welcomed and included in our democracy. We are moving from defense to offense. As we continue to protect voting rights, we will also focus our efforts to increase language access for Georgia’s more than 165,000 Limited English Proficient (LEP) voters.

Georgia is a critical state in the election with rapidly growing Asian American, Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Latinx communities. By providing in-language voting resources, DeKalb County’s election officials are demonstrating statewide leadership on how to make it possible for all Georgia voters to have a voice in shaping our state and country’s future.”

Earlier this month Advancing Justice-Atlanta’s Policy Director, LaVita Tuff made a series of language access recommendations to DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson and the Board of Commissioners’ County Operations Committee. Tuff’s recommendations coincided with the DeKalb Board of Registrations and Elections (BRE) being awarded a $4.8 million grant to improve election processes and restore voter confidence.

“The infusion of resources and the collaboration with Advancing Justice-Atlanta will be meaningful as we work together to advance language access ahead of Election Day. We must have every voice and vote heard and counted to continue to make this democracy better.  DeKalb County is committed to that!” said Commissioner Larry Johnson, who chairs the DeKalb County Operations Committee, which works in partnership with the BRE to ensure DeKalb County offers exceptional voter experience.

Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials added, “This is part of a years’ long fight to deepen democracy across Georgia. In Gwinnett County though we fought for the election board to voluntarily adopt Spanish language accommodations, they only acted once the Census Bureau determined that Gwinnett County was required to under the Voting Rights Act. It was a significant win to have both the moral and legal backing to expand the franchise and we kept on fighting.

None of us have forgotten that the 2018 gubernatorial race was decided by just 55,000 votes, making the estimated 377,000 eligible Latinx voters and the nearly 240,000 eligible AAPI voters in Georgia a decisive constituency. In Georgia, over a third of Latinx and nearly half of AAPIs speak limited English. In DeKalb county alone, there are nearly 34,000 AAPI and Latinx voters.”

Today’s in-language resources roll-out include: translated sample ballots; frequently asked questions and answers; absentee voter guide; poll location changes; and dropbox locations in Korean and Spanish. The resources will include Advancing Justice-Atlanta’s multilingual voter hotline and will be posted on DeKalbVotes.com and available at polling stations. The county also announced a rapid response plan to give poll workers information on language access rights and resources at the polls.