Rep. want U.S. ballots in English only

Aug. 18, 2011 at 10:53 PM
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DENVER, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., says he plans to introduce legislature to have all U.S. ballots printed English only.

Coffman said Wednesday his legislation will repeal Section 203 of the 1973 Voting Rights Act that requires jurisdictions with large populations of residents who are not proficient in English to print ballots in more than one language, The Denver Post reported.

Coffman says his legislation was prompted by eight Colorado counties being required to print ballots in Spanish as well as English. He says the requirement can create financial hardship as it is unfunded and can cost up to $350,000 for some counties.

"Since proficiency in English is already a requirement for U.S. citizenship, forcing cash-strapped local governments to provide ballots in a language other than English makes no sense at all," Coffman said.

Immigrant-rights groups say Coffman's proposal is as an effort to deprive eligible voters their right to vote.

"For us, this is a serious concern to our community because any effort to create barriers marginalizes our community," said Olivia Mendoza, director with the Colorado Latino Forum.

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