(Photo- Iowa Independent)
In March of 2008, an Iowa state court ruled that providing non-English voter registration forms to voters was a violation of a state law which required English to be the “official language” of the state.
The IA Secretary of State’s office removed all non-English registration forms from its website, and as a result, non-English speakers in Iowa faced special difficulties in registering to vote for the 2008 presidential election.
With the 2009 elections tomorrow and 2010 midterms only a year away, Michael Zuckerman revisits language disenfranchisement in a working paper Constitutional Clash: When English-Only Meets Voting Rights.
“General criticism aside, English-only policies are particularly troublesome when applied to voting,” says Michael Zuckerman in a recent guest column to the Des Moines Register. “This is because voting is a fundamental right and one of the most important tools of political change. To that end, requiring voting materials to be only in English infringes upon the rights of Iowans to vote and to petition the government, both of which are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”
To download Zuckerman’s paper, visit the SSRI website here.