oversight

Bilingual Voting Assistance: Assistance Provided and Costs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-05-09.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                United States General Accounting Office

GAO             Report to the Honorable
                John Edward Porter
                House of Representatives


May 1997
                BILINGUAL VOTING
                ASSISTANCE
                Assistance Provided
                and Costs




GAO/GGD-97-81
      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      General Government Division

      B-275220

      May 9, 1997

      The Honorable John Edward Porter
      House of Representatives

      Dear Mr. Porter:

      The Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1973 et seq.), was
      enacted to, among other things, protect the voting rights of U.S. citizens of
      certain ethnic groups whose command of the English language may be
      limited (minority language groups). The act’s “bilingual voting assistance
      requirements” apply to ethnic groups in 422 “covered jurisdictions”—most
      of which are counties—in 28 states.1 Critics of the bilingual provisions
      have charged that the implementation of these requirements has been
      costly and has been of questionable benefit in increasing voter turnout of
      the targeted ethnic groups.

      This report responds to your request that we review two aspects of the
      implementation of bilingual language provisions of the act. You asked that
      we determine (1) the types of assistance jurisdictions provided for the
      1996 general election; and (2) the actual cost that covered jurisdictions
      incurred to provide bilingual voting assistance in 1996,2 and in prior years,
      if available.

      To determine the types of assistance jurisdictions provided and the related
      costs, we surveyed election officials representing each covered
      jurisdiction and each state that had covered jurisdictions. In all, we
      solicited responses from election officials in 28 states and 391 covered
      jurisdictions.3 See appendix I for a detailed discussion of our objectives,
      scope, and methodology. In total, 26 states and 292 covered jurisdictions
      responded to our questionnaires, a response rate of 93 percent and
      75 percent, respectively.4 (See app. II).

      1
       Alaska, Arizona, and Texas are the only states in which the act’s provisions apply to all jurisdictions in
      the state.
      2
       We requested that covered jurisdictions provide information on the actual costs of providing bilingual
      voting assistance during 1996, including primary election and early voting period costs.
      3
       For the 25 covered jurisdictions in Alaska (as determined by the 1990 Census) and the 3 covered
      jurisdictions in Hawaii, state election officials requested that they be permitted to respond for the
      jurisdictions; in both Alaska and Hawaii, the state and not the local jurisdictions is responsible for
      election administration. Their responses are contained in discussions of state assistance. In addition,
      New York City Board of Election officials agreed to provide a response for four covered
      jurisdictions—Bronx, Kings, Queens, and New York Counties. Their response is included in the
      discussions on jurisdiction assistance. Thus, 422 covered jurisdictions, in total, were represented by
      the jurisdictions and states to which we mailed surveys.
      4
       All percentages in this report have been rounded to the nearest percentage point.



      Page 1                           GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                   B-275220




                   The information contained in this report is limited to the data provided by
                   the states and jurisdictions that responded to our survey. To the extent
                   practical, we attempted to verify the completeness and accuracy of the
                   responses. Where a response to a question was inconsistent with other
                   answers elsewhere in the survey or where a respondent failed to answer a
                   question, we contacted them to clarify or determine the response. On cost
                   questions, we requested that respondents only provide actual costs for
                   which they had supporting documentation, not cost estimates. In a
                   number of cases jurisdictions provided us documentation supporting their
                   costs; additional details are provided in appendix I (see page 34). Because
                   the jurisdictions that reported costs were geographically dispersed, it was
                   not practical to further verify the costs reported.

                   For both objectives, the survey was affected by variables which limit the
                   responses’ generalizability. For example, the covered jurisdictions varied
                   in (1) the number of polling locations where bilingual voting assistance
                   was provided, (2) the size of the populations in need of assistance, and
                   (3) the number of minority groups for whom assistance was required.
                   Accordingly, comparisons across jurisdictions are not meaningful and the
                   responses of states and covered jurisdictions cannot be projected or
                   generalized to nonresponding jurisdictions.

                   On April 9, 1997, we requested comments from the Attorney General or her
                   designee on a draft of this report. On April 18, 1997, the Chief of the Voting
                   Section, Civil Rights Division, on behalf of the Attorney General, provided
                   technical information, which we incorporated where appropriate. We did
                   our work in Washington, D.C., from July 1996 through April 1997 in
                   accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.


                   Of the 292 jurisdictions that responded to our survey, 272 reported
Results in Brief   providing bilingual voting assistance for the 1996 general election. Of the
                   292 respondents, 213 said that they provided both written and oral
                   bilingual voting assistance to their minority language voters; 45 said that
                   they provided written assistance only; 14 said that they provided oral
                   assistance only; and 20 said they did not provide any assistance. With
                   respect to the jurisdictions not providing any assistance, 5 said that they
                   tried but were unable to identify individuals needing assistance; 13 said
                   that no one needed assistance or that no one had ever sought assistance;
                   and 2 believed that they had been exempted from providing assistance. In
                   addition, five jurisdictions and two states reported furnishing bilingual
                   voting assistance to groups that the act did not require them to assist.



                   Page 2                  GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
    B-275220




    Of the 258 jurisdictions that reported providing written assistance:

•   94 percent said that they provided bilingual or separate translated ballots;
•   87 percent said that they provided bilingual or translated voting
    instructions;
•   71 percent said that they provided bilingual or translated signs at polling
    places; and,
•   70 percent said that they placed bilingual notices in newspapers.

    Of the 227 jurisdictions that reported providing oral assistance:

•   82 percent reported that bilingual employees worked in their offices or at
    the polls to provide assistance;
•   15 percent reported that they used volunteer assistants; and,
•   13 percent reported that they hired special interpreters.

    In addition to assistance provided by jurisdictions, states may also provide
    assistance, such as translations of state election propositions or translated
    sample ballots. Twelve of the 26 states that responded said that they
    furnished some bilingual voting assistance. The 14 remaining states
    reported that they provided no bilingual voting assistance. In addition,
    some states, such as California and New Jersey, have adopted their own
    laws requiring bilingual voting assistance.

    As the act does not require covered jurisdictions and states to maintain
    data on the costs of providing bilingual voting assistance, information
    provided by the surveyed jurisdictions and states on their costs was scant.
    Of the 272 jurisdictions that reported providing assistance in 1996, 208
    were unable to provide information on their costs. Of the 64 jurisdictions
    that reported cost information, only 34 provided information on total costs
    and the remainder provided partial costs. The 34 jurisdictions’ reported
    costs varied greatly. For example, several counties which reported
    providing oral language assistance reported no additional costs, as they
    used bilingual workers to provide assistance. Conversely, Los Angeles
    County, CA, which reported providing written and oral bilingual assistance
    in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Tagalog (a Philippine
    language) at over 5,600 polling places, reported additional costs exceeding
    $1.1 million.

    Of the 12 states that provided assistance, only Hawaii and Florida reported
    their total costs for providing bilingual voting assistance in 1996. Arizona,
    Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, and Rhode Island reported partial



    Page 3                  GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
             B-275220




             cost data. Hawaii and Florida reported costs for bilingual voting assistance
             in 1996 of $23,328 and $7,900, respectively.

             Only 29 jurisdictions and 6 states provided some data on election year
             costs for 1992 to 1995. For example, 28 jurisdictions reported 1994 election
             year costs and 12 jurisdictions reported 1995 costs. Moreover, the amounts
             jurisdictions reported spending on bilingual voting assistance in prior
             years varied widely—ranging from no costs for a 1995 election in Central
             Falls, RI, to $764,900 for the 1994 elections in Los Angeles County, CA. The
             amounts states reported also varied by year.


             In 1975, Congress amended the Voting Rights Act and extended its
Background   coverage to protect the voting rights of citizens of certain ethnic groups
             whose language is other than English. The act’s language minority
             provisions require states and covered jurisdictions—political
             subdivisions—that meet the act’s coverage criteria to conduct elections in
             the language of certain “minority language groups” in addition to English.
             The act defined these language minorities as persons of Spanish heritage,
             American Indians, Asian Americans, and Alaskan Natives.

             Where the applicable minority groups have a commonly used written
             language, the act requires covered jurisdictions to provide written election
             materials in the languages of the groups. For American Indians and
             Alaskan Natives whose languages are unwritten, only oral assistance and
             publicity, e.g., public information spots on the radio, are required. All
             covered jurisdictions must provide oral assistance when needed in the
             minority language. Both written and oral assistance must be available
             throughout the election process from registration to election day activities
             and are required for all federal, state, and local elections.

             According to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section, the objective of the
             act’s bilingual assistance provisions, in the Attorney General’s view, is to
             enable members of applicable language minority groups to participate
             effectively in the electoral process. Further, according to the Section,
             jurisdictions should take all reasonable steps to achieve the goal, but they
             are not required to provide bilingual assistance that would not further that
             goal. A jurisdiction need not, for example, provide bilingual assistance to
             all of its eligible voters if it effectively targets its bilingual program to
             those in actual need of bilingual assistance.




             Page 4                  GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
B-275220




The implementation of the act by states and jurisdictions could vary
depending on the extent that the states provide assistance. For example,
where states provide ballot translations for national and state issues and
offices, the covered jurisdictions only have to translate the portions of
ballot issues and offices that pertain to them. Where states provide no
assistance, the responsibility for assistance falls entirely to the
jurisdictions.

The act, as amended, contains two sections—4(f)(4) and 203(c)—which
provide specific criteria for determining which states and jurisdictions are
to be covered by the bilingual voting provisions. The act designates the
Attorney General or the Director of the Census to make these
determinations (see app. III). In total, 422 jurisdictions in 28 states were
covered during 1996. These included three states—Alaska (Alaskan
Natives), Arizona (Spanish heritage), and Texas (Spanish
heritage)—which were covered statewide (i.e., the act’s provisions apply
to all political subdivisions within the state). Figure 1 illustrates the
number of covered jurisdictions in each state.




Page 5                  GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                                             B-275220




Figure 1: Locations of Covered Jurisdictions by State




                                                                         ND
                                                                         (3)
                   OR
                   (1)
                                    ID
                                                                         SD                           WI                                NY                MA
                                    (4)                                                                WI
                                                                         (8)                          (1)                               (1)
                                                                                                                                        (7)               (5)
                                                                                                       (1)          MI
                                                                                                                    MI
                                                                                                                    (4)
                                                                                                                    (4)
                                                                                                                                 PA                        RI
                                                                                          IA                                     PA
                                                                                                                                 (1)                       (1)
                                                                                          (1)                                    (1)                CT
                              NV
                              (2)                                                                                                                   (4)
             CA                           UT                                                                 IL
            (21)                                                                                              IL                              NJ
                                          (1)           CO
                                                        CO                                                   (1)
                                                                                                              (1)                             (5)
                                                        (11)
                                                        (9)

                                                                                                                                  NC
                                                                                                                                  (1)
                                      AZ                                        OK
                                                      NM                        (1)
                                      15              (26)

                                                                                                         MS
                                                                                                         (6)
                                                                          TX                    LA
                                                                          254                   (1)

                         AK
                                                                                                                           FL
                         25                                                                                                (9)

                                                HI
                                                (3)




       1      Statewide - all jurisdictions covered
   (       ) Limited coverage - number of covered jurisdictions indicated in (        )

              Coverge does not apply


                                                             Source: Department of Justice and Bureau of Census data.




                                                             Some covered jurisdictions have more than one ethnic group for which
                                                             they are required to provide minority language voting assistance. Figure 2
                                                             shows the number of minority language groups by ethnicity within the 422
                                                             covered jurisdictions.




                                                             Page 6                         GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                   B-275220




Figure 2: Number of Minority
Language Groups by Ethnicity in    Jurisdictions
Covered Jurisdictions
                                               352
                                   350


                                   300


                                   250


                                   200


                                   150


                                   100
                                                               66

                                       50
                                                                               25
                                                                                              10
                                        0
                                                 e



                                                                 s



                                                                                s



                                                                                              ns
                                               ag



                                                               ian




                                                                               ve



                                                                                              ca
                                                                           ati
                                              rit



                                                            nd




                                                                                          eri
                                            He




                                                                          nN
                                                          nI




                                                                                         Am
                                        ish



                                                          ca



                                                                      ka



                                                                                    ian
                                                      eri



                                                                     as
                                       an




                                                                     Al
                                                     Am




                                                                                    As
                                   Sp




                                  Ethnic groups



                                   Note: Jurisdictions with multiple language minorities within the same ethnic group are counted
                                   only once. Thus, if a jurisdiction contained Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese American
                                   minorities, it is only counted once as an Asian American jurisdiction. However, if it contained
                                   Hispanics and Chinese Americans, it is counted as both a Spanish heritage and an Asian
                                   American jurisdiction.

                                   Source: GAO analysis of the Code of Federal Regulations (28 CFR Ch.1).




                                   The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is to oversee the covered
                                   states and jurisdictions’ implementation of the act. Where states and
                                   jurisdictions fail to comply with the provisions, the Department of Justice
                                   may bring civil action to attain compliance with the bilingual language
                                   provisions.5




                                   5
                                    Individuals also have a right to bring civil actions to obtain relief.



                                   Page 7                                            GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                         B-275220




                                         Most jurisdictions that reported providing bilingual voting assistance in
Assistance                               the 1996 general election said that they provided both written and oral
Jurisdictions and                        assistance. As shown in figure 3, about 73 percent of the 292 jurisdictions
States Reported                          responding reported that they provided both written and oral assistance.
                                         Seven percent reported that they did not provide bilingual voting
Providing in 1996                        assistance for the 1996 general election (see page 13). Moreover, five
                                         jurisdictions that reported providing assistance also reported providing
                                         assistance to other language minority groups that the act did not require
                                         them to assist.


Figure 3: Percent of Jurisdictions
Reporting Various Types of Bilingual                                                Written only
Voting Assistance for the 1996 General
Election                                                                            5%
                                                                                    Oral only

                                                                                    7%
                                                                                    Did not provide assistance




                                                         •
                                                    •


                                              • 15%



                                                               73% •                Written and oral




                                         Source: GAO survey.




                                         For 14 jurisdictions that reported providing oral assistance only, the act
                                         required 12 to provide assistance to American Indian groups. In addition,
                                         some jurisdictions that reported providing written and oral assistance



                                         Page 8                  GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                            B-275220




                            actually provided assistance to more than one covered ethnic group, and
                            depending on the group assisted, the type of assistance they provided may
                            have varied. For example, Gila, AZ, reported providing written and oral
                            assistance to Hispanics but only oral assistance to Apache Indians whose
                            language is not written to the extent needed for election translation.

                            Twenty-six of the 28 states surveyed responded. Of the responding states,
                            12 reported providing bilingual voting assistance. In addition, some states
                            had passed their own legislation requiring some form of bilingual voting
                            assistance (see page 15). Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii,
                            Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Texas reported providing both written
                            and oral assistance. Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, and Rhode Island
                            reported providing written assistance only. And, Alaska reported providing
                            oral assistance only. Moreover, two states, California and Hawaii, reported
                            providing assistance to groups that the act did not require them to assist.


Written Assistance          As shown in figures 4 and 5, bilingual ballots were the most frequent type
Reported by Jurisdictions   of written assistance reported by jurisdictions and bilingual voting
and States                  instructions were the single most frequent written assistance reported by
                            states. Of the 258 jurisdictions that reported providing written assistance,
                            231 reported providing bilingual ballots. Of the 11 states that reported
                            providing written assistance, 7 reported providing bilingual voting
                            instructions. However, among jurisdictions, the types of bilingual voting
                            assistance they reported providing ranged from ballot assistance alone to
                            all voting materials provided to voters.




                            Page 9                  GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                                        B-275220




Figure 4: Types of Written Bilingual Voting Assistance Jurisdictions Reported for the 1996 General Election

250     Number of jurisdictions
         231
                                         224
225

200
                                                183                            181
175
                                                             151
150

125

100

 75
                                                                                          54
 50                                                                                                       45


 25
                        12

 0
           al



                           ted




                                          s



                                                ns




                                                            llo sla e
                                                               t p ted
                                                                     ted




                                                                                      pa in
                                                                                            rs


                                                                                            rs




                                                                                                            r
                                                                                                           he
                                         on




                                                        ba tran mpl
        gu




                                                                                         pe


                                                                                        ote
                                               Sig




                                                                                   ws ed
                       sla




                                                                  os




                                                                                                          Ot
                                        cti
       lin




                                                           l/ Sa




                                                                                ne lish



                                                                                     ov
                     ran




                                   tru
      Bi




                                                                                  dt
                                                                                   b
                                  Ins
                  et




                                                                               Pu



                                                                              ile
                                                        ua
                rat




                                                                           Ma
                                                       ing
                pa




                                                      bil
             Se




      Ballots                     Voting information                       Notices                      Othera


                                                        Note: More than one type of assistance may have been provided.

                                                        a
                                                          Other assistance includes translated materials such as state propositions and analyses and
                                                        candidate statements.


                                                        Source: GAO survey.




                                                        Page 10                            GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                                             B-275220




Figure 5: Types of Written Bilingual Voting Assistance States Reported for the 1996 General Election

                                                                                                             8
8     Number of states providing type of assistance

                                       7
7

       6                                                     6                  6
6

                                                5
5

                                                                                           4
4


3


2

                      1
1


0
         al



                         ted




                                           s



                                                ns




                                                            llo sla e
                                                               t p ted
                                                                     ted




                                                                                       pa in
                                                                                             rs


                                                                                             rs




                                                                                                                 r
                                                                                                             he
                                       on




                                                        ba tran mpl
      gu




                                                                                          pe


                                                                                         ote
                                               Sig




                                                                                    ws ed
                     sla




                                                                  os




                                                                                                            Ot
                                      cti
     lin




                                                           l/ Sa




                                                                                 ne lish



                                                                                      ov
                   ran




                                 tru
    Bi




                                                                                   dt
                                                                                    b
                                Ins
                et




                                                                                Pu



                                                                               ile
                                                        ua
              rat




                                                                            Ma
                                                       ing
              pa




                                                      bil
           Se




    Ballots                      Voting information                          Notices                      Othera


                                                             Note: More than one type of assistance may have been provided.

                                                             a
                                                               Other assistance includes, for example, translations of propositions, constitutional amendments,
                                                             and forms.


                                                             Source: GAO survey.


                                                             Appendix IV provides examples of translated voting instructions that were
                                                             provided to some minority language voters and a portion of a bilingual
                                                             ballot.


Oral Assistance                                              Almost all jurisdictions and states that provided minority language oral
Jurisdictions and States                                     assistance did so by hiring bilingual poll and office workers or using the
Reported                                                     assistance of volunteers. Of the 227 jurisdictions that reported providing
                                                             minority language oral assistance, 187 reported that they had hired




                                                             Page 11                           GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                        B-275220




                                        bilingual workers and 35 reported that they used the assistance of
                                        volunteers. In addition, 13 jurisdictions reported providing minority
                                        language tapes describing the ballot and/or voting instructions. Of the
                                        eight states providing bilingual oral assistance, four employed bilingual
                                        workers and two hired interpreters to provide assistance. Figures 6 and 7
                                        show the types of oral assistance provided by 227 jurisdictions and 8
                                        states, respectively.


Figure 6: Types of Bilingual Oral
Assistance Jurisdictions Reported for   Number of jurisdictions
the 1996 General Election               200
                                                      187

                                        175


                                        150


                                        125


                                        100


                                         75


                                         50
                                                                 35                                         34
                                                                                    30
                                         25
                                                                                                      13

                                             0
                                                                                                           he a
                                                 wo ffice
                                                       rs


                                                                   rs



                                                                                    ers




                                                                                                      gs



                                                                                                             r
                                                    rke


                                                                 tee




                                                                                                  din
                                                                                   ret
                                                 ll/o




                                                                                                           Ot
                                                             lun




                                                                                                 or
                                                                              erp
                                                 po




                                                                                                rec
                                                            Vo



                                                                             int
                                             al




                                                                                           ge
                                           gu




                                                                        red



                                                                                           ua
                                        lin




                                                                        Hi



                                                                                         ng
                                        Bi




                                                                                     La




                                        Note: More than one type of assistance may have been provided.

                                        a
                                          Other includes radio announcements; a telephone hotline; and bilingual officials in other offices
                                        who could assist, if needed.


                                        Source: GAO survey.




                                        Page 12                                             GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                     B-275220




Figure 7: Types of Bilingual Oral
Assistance States Reported for the   6   Number of states providing type of assistance
1996 General Election

                                     5


                                         4                                             4       4
                                     4



                                     3


                                                                      2
                                     2



                                     1


                                                   0
                                     0

                                                                                               ra
                                                rke /
                                                     rs


                                                     rs



                                                                      ers




                                                                                         gs
                                             wo poll



                                                 tee




                                                                                              he
                                                                                    din
                                                                     ret




                                                                                              Ot
                                        ice al



                                             lun




                                                                                    or
                                                                erp
                                     off ingu




                                                                                 rec
                                          Vo



                                                               int
                                        l




                                                                               ge
                                     Bi




                                                          red



                                                                            ua
                                                          Hi



                                                                           ng
                                                                          La




                                     Note: More than one type of assistance may have been provided.

                                     a
                                       Other includes public service announcements, telephone assistance, and additional special
                                     bilingual assistants.


                                     Source: GAO survey.


                                     Twenty-eight of the 227 responding jurisdictions reporting oral assistance
                                     provided this assistance to American Indian groups. In addition, the state
                                     of Alaska reported providing oral assistance to American Indian groups in
                                     six jurisdictions. Of these 34 jurisdictions, only 4 reported providing
                                     bilingual written materials as well as oral assistance to the American
                                     Indian groups.


Some Covered                         Although the jurisdictions that we surveyed were designated to provide
Jurisdictions Reported               bilingual voting assistance, 20 jurisdictions reported that they did not do
Providing No Bilingual               so for the 1996 general election. They reported not providing assistance
                                     because they said that they (1) were unable to locate or identify
Assistance

                                     Page 13                                        GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                            B-275220




                            individuals in their areas needing assistance (5 jurisdictions), (2) were not
                            contacted by individuals in need of assistance or did not know of
                            individuals needing assistance (13 jurisdictions), or (3) believed they had
                            been exempted from providing assistance (2 jurisdictions).

                            Of the 20 jurisdictions that reported not providing assistance, 17 were
                            designated to provide it to American Indian groups and 3 were designated
                            to provide it to Spanish heritage groups. Three of the jurisdictions
                            designated to provide assistance to American Indian groups responded
                            that they had contacted tribal officials to identify those in need of
                            assistance but were told that no need existed. Another jurisdiction said
                            that it had conducted a telephone survey of registered voters but was
                            unable to find anyone in need of assistance. Further, 11 of the 20
                            jurisdictions indicated that should someone seek assistance, they had
                            interpreters who were on call or could otherwise provide assistance.

                            According to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section, one should
                            interpret with care a jurisdiction’s response to the survey that it did not
                            provide bilingual voting assistance. Most of the jurisdictions that indicated
                            they had not provided bilingual voting assistance had relatively few
                            members of the applicable language group, and the Attorney General’s
                            minority language guidelines explain that the objective of the bilingual
                            provisions is “to enable members of applicable language minority groups
                            to participate effectively in the electoral process.” Accordingly, the Section
                            said further inquiry would be needed to determine whether such a
                            jurisdiction has violated the bilingual requirements of the act.


Some Jurisdictions and      Five jurisdictions and two states reported that in addition to providing
States Reported Providing   assistance to minority language groups, as required under the act, they
Assistance to Groups That   also furnished assistance to other groups. Table 1 identifies the
                            jurisdictions and states that reported providing assistance to other groups
Were Not Required to Be     and the groups that they assisted.
Covered




                            Page 14                 GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                         B-275220




Table 1: Jurisdictions and States That
Reported Assisting Other Groups in                                        Groups required to be
1996                                     Jurisdiction or state            assisted                       Other groups assisted
                                         Jurisdictions:
                                             New York City, NYa           Spanish heritage, Chinese      Korean
                                             San Francisco City and       Chinese                        Spanish heritage
                                             Co., CA
                                             Santa Clara Co., CA          Spanish heritage               Vietnamese, Chinese
                                             Sandoval Co., NM             American Indian                Spanish heritage
                                             Santa Fe Co., NM             Spanish heritage               American Indian
                                         States:
                                             California                   none                           Korean
                                             Hawaii                       none                           Chinese, Korean
                                         a
                                          The New York City response provided consolidated data for Bronx, Kings, Queens, and New
                                         York counties.

                                         Source: GAO survey.




Some States Have Adopted                 Several states have enacted laws requiring some form of minority language
Their Own Bilingual Voting               voting assistance during the election process. California, for example,
Assistance Requirements                  requires that minority language sample ballots be posted in polling places
                                         in which the Secretary of State determines such assistance is needed. Also,
                                         when a need exists, county clerks are required to make reasonable efforts
                                         to recruit election officials fluent in minority languages. The state
                                         considers assistance to be needed when 3 percent or more of voting age
                                         citizens lack sufficient English skills to vote without assistance, or when
                                         citizens or organizations provide information supporting a need for
                                         assistance.

                                         New Jersey requires that bilingual sample ballots be provided for election
                                         districts where Spanish is the primary language for 10 percent or more of
                                         the registered voters. Also, two additional election district board members
                                         who are Hispanic in origin and fluent in Spanish must be appointed in
                                         these districts.

                                         In Texas, the election code specifies that bilingual election materials be
                                         provided in precincts where persons of Spanish origin or descent
                                         comprise 5 percent or more of the population of both the precinct and the
                                         county in which the precinct is located. In these covered precincts, the
                                         following materials must be presented bilingually: instruction cards,
                                         ballots, affidavits, other forms that voters are required to sign, and



                                         Page 15                      GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                              B-275220




                              absentee voting materials. In addition, the judge presiding over an election
                              in covered precincts must make reasonable efforts to appoint election
                              clerks who are fluent in both English and Spanish.

                              Also some states, such as North Dakota and Colorado, have laws that
                              entitle non-English speaking electors to have assistance, e.g., for preparing
                              ballots or operating voting machines, when they request it.


                              In response to our survey questions on the cost of providing bilingual
Costs Jurisdictions           voting assistance,6 34 jurisdictions said they reported all costs and 30
and States Reported           jurisdictions said they reported partial costs for 1996 elections. Likewise,
Incurring to Provide          two states reported all and five states reported partial bilingual voting
                              assistance costs for 1996 elections.7
Bilingual Voting
Assistance in 1996            For prior year elections, 29 jurisdictions and 6 states reported data for
                              costs they incurred to provide bilingual voting assistance. Generally,
                              jurisdictions and states said they did not keep track of the costs they
                              incurred to provide the minority language portion of their voting
                              assistance. Further, they are not required to identify such costs.


Few Jurisdictions and         Covered jurisdictions and states are not required to maintain data on their
States Said They Identified   costs of providing bilingual voting assistance. However, a small number of
Costs for Providing           jurisdictions and states reported cost information for providing bilingual
                              voting assistance. About 76 percent of the jurisdictions (see fig. 8) and
Bilingual Voting Assistance   42 percent of the states that provided bilingual voting assistance were
                              unable to determine the cost of doing so. Some jurisdiction officials said
                              that their jurisdictions have provided bilingual assistance for so many
                              years that it is just a part of their total election process and they did not
                              bother to keep track of the bilingual assistance costs.




                              6
                               Our survey requested that respondents provide only the actual costs to implement the federal
                              bilingual voting assistance provisions for which they had supporting documentation. We asked that
                              they not provide cost estimates. We did not verify the cost data they provided.
                              7
                               Bilingual voting assistance costs the states reported are over and above the costs the jurisdictions
                              reported.



                              Page 16                          GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                     B-275220




Figure 8: Percent of Jurisdictions
Providing Bilingual Cost Data for
Elections in 1996

                                                              12% •                       Provided all costs



                                                                    11% •                 Provided partial costs




                                                76%
                                                  •




                                                                                          Unable to provide cost information




                                     Note: Does not add to 100 percent due to rounding.

                                     Source: GAO survey.




                                     Most of the jurisdictions that were unable to provide cost data, cited, as
                                     causes, the lack of specificity in (1) printers’ billing statements for election
                                     materials and (2) their accounting systems. In analyzing the jurisdictions’
                                     responses, we noted that 135 of the 272 jurisdictions reported they were
                                     unable to provide cost data for providing written assistance but reported
                                     using only bilingual workers or volunteer assistants to provide oral
                                     assistance. Figure 9 shows the specific reasons 231 jurisdictions reported
                                     being unable to do so.




                                     Page 17                       GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                        B-275220




Figure 9: Reasons Jurisdictions Could
Not Provide Bilingual Assistance        200      Number of jurisdictions
Costs
                                                 177
                                        175


                                        150


                                        125
                                                           107
                                        100


                                            75                       66


                                            50

                                                                              28
                                            25


                                             0
                                                                 he a
                                                       sta tem not
                                                             tem ized
                                                                    ts

                                                                co m
                                                                  sts


                                                      req om rate
                                                               em te
                                                                     t
                                                                  en

                                                                   r
                                                                 en

                                                           ize ste




                                                           uir sta
                                                      ide did




                                                       l fr epa



                                                              Ot
                                                      em sy



                                                  era ’t s
                                                  ov rs
                                                            i


                                                  t it g
                                                no tin
                                                pr inte




                                               fed an
                                                    n
                                            didccou




                                                  C
                                                 Pr


                                             A




                                        Note: Some jurisdictions gave more than one reason.

                                        a
                                          Other includes reasons such as being generally unable to separate the bilingual costs from the
                                        other costs incurred.


                                        Source: GAO survey.


                                        In addition, we contacted three printers of election materials and ballots in
                                        Texas8 to determine whether they could provide information on the cost of
                                        publishing the minority language portion of the ballot. None of the printers
                                        contacted could provide the costs of the minority portion of the ballot.
                                        One printer estimated that for 1996, the minority language portion of the
                                        ballot comprised about 25 percent of the total cost of ballots.




                                        8
                                         These printers printed election materials and ballots for about 80 percent of Texas’ 254 counties.



                                        Page 18                            GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                              B-275220




Jurisdictions’ Reported       Of the 272 responding jurisdictions that reported providing bilingual voting
Costs for Elections in 1996   assistance, 34 jurisdictions reported the total cost of providing such
                              assistance,9 of which 6 jurisdictions said they provided oral assistance
                              only but at no additional cost. In addition, 30 jurisdictions reported partial
                              cost data. Table 2 shows the total costs jurisdictions reported they
                              incurred to provide bilingual voting assistance under the act.10




                              9
                               In reporting cost information, we requested that respondents include primary elections and, where
                              applicable, the early voting period of the general election as part of the total costs for carrying out the
                              elections. Because the data were not reported separately, costs of assistance for jurisdictions with
                              primary elections or early voting cannot be distinguished from costs for jurisdictions that did not have
                              such elections.
                              10
                               The six jurisdictions that reported providing oral bilingual assistance at no additional cost were
                              Jones County, MS; Newton County, MS; Humbolt County, NV; Harding County, NM; Benson County,
                              ND; and Shannon County, SD.



                              Page 19                          GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                         B-275220




Table 2: Jurisdictions’ Reported Total
Costs for Providing Bilingual Voting                                       Types of                                 Number of
Assistance in 1996                                                         groups                 Number of           bilingual
                                         Name of jurisdiction              assisted           polling places    polling places
                                         Alameda Co., CA                   S, C                         1,034            1,034
                                         Colusa Co., CA                    S                               17               17
                                         Inyo Co., CA                      S                               22                1
                                         Kings Co., CA                     S                               28               28
                                         Los Angeles Co., CA               S, C, V, J, F                5,632            5,632
                                         Orange Co., CA                    S, V                         1,628            1,628
                                         San Benito Co., CA                S                               22               17
                                         San Diego Co., CA                 S                            1,510            1,510
                                         San Francisco City and Co., CA    C                             652               250
                                         Santa Clara Co., CA               S                            1,146            1,146
                                         New Britain, CT                   S                               19                8
                                         Bingham Co., ID                   S, I                            22                2
                                         Power Co.,ID                      I                                7                2
                                         Springfield, MA                   S                               64               64
                                         Chelsea, MA                       S                               10               10
                                         Clyde Township, MI                S                                1                1
                                         Zilwaukee Township, MI            S                                1                1
                                         Middlesex Co., NJ                 S                             247               225
                                         Luna Co., NM                      S                               13               13
                                                             f
                                         New York City, NY                 S, C                         1,280              788
                                         Suffolk Co., NY                   S                             350               350
                                         Jackson Co., NC                   I                               18                1
                                         Adair Co., OK                     I                               18               18
                                         Central Falls, RI                 S                                9                9
                                         Dewey Co., SD                     I                               14                9
                                         Todd Co., SD                      I                               11                6
                                         Andrew Co., TX                    S                                5                5
                                         San Juan Co., UT                  I                               15                7




                                         Page 20                   GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                          B-275220




f
 l Types of help                              Bilingual written         Bilingual      Other bilingual       Total bilingual
s provided         Total election costs                  costs         oral costs                costs                 costs
                                                                                 b
4 Written/oral              $2,842,300               $213,200                                  $23,778c            $236,978
                                                                                 b                     d
7 Written/oral                  83,500                     300                                                           300
                                                              a                                        d
  Oral                          79,372                                      $100                                         100
                                                                                                       d
8 Written/oral                 220,200                  66,500              2,000                                     68,500
                                                                                                       d
2 Written/oral              30,981,718                 828,800           276,300                                   1,105,100
                                                                                                       d
8 Written/oral               5,730,100                 340,400            66,800                                    407,200
                                                                                 b                     d
7 Written/oral                 111,400                  15,300                                                        15,300
                                                                                                       d
0 Written/oral               3,450,000                  29,400              2,160                                     31,560
                                                                                 b                     d
0 Written/oral               3,200,000                  78,000                                                        78,000
                                                                                                       d
6 Written/oral               5,405,000                 581,123            62,125                                    643,248
                                                                                 b                     d
8 Written/oral                  50,100                     700                                                           700
                                                              a                                        d
2 Oral                         109,000                                      1,200                                      1,200
                                                              a                                        d
2 Oral                          19,361                                       200                                         200
                                                                                 b                     d
4 Written/oral                  47,000                     500                                                           500
                                                                                 b                     d
0 Written/oral                  48,700                   1,000                                                         1,000
                                                                                                       d
  Written/oral                   4,500                     900               162                                       1,062
                                                              e                  a                     d
  Written                        1,000                       0                                                             0
                                                                                 b                     d
5 Written/oral                 281,058                 105,200                                                      105,200
                                                                                 b                     d
3 Written/oral                  26,000                  15,000                                                        15,000
                                                                                                       d
8 Written/oral              16,000,000                 369,500           216,900                                    586,400
                                                                                 b                     d
0 Written/oral                   1,800                   1,000                                                         1,000
                                                                                                       d
  Written/oral                  18,000                     100               200                                         300
                                                              a                                        d
8 Oral                           1,000                                       100                                         100
                                                                                 b                     d
9 Written/oral                  12,749                     100                                                           100
                                                              a                                        d
9 Oral                          16,450                                       138                                         138
                                                              a                                        d
6 Oral                          17,100                                       700                                         700
                                                                                                       d
5 Written/oral                   6,300                   1,900               700                                       2,600
                                                              a                                        d
7 Oral                          68,500                                    44,500                                      44,500




                                          Page 21                 GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
B-275220




Legend: S = Spanish heritage; C = Chinese; V = Vietnamese; J = Japanese; F = Filipino; and I =
American Indian.
a
  For jurisdictions providing oral voting assistance only, bilingual written assistance costs are not
applicable. Likewise, for jurisdictions providing written assistance only, bilingual oral assistance
costs are not applicable.
b
 For jurisdictions providing both written and oral assistance, but which reported no costs for oral
assistance, the oral assistance was reportedly provided by bilingual poll/office workers at no
additional cost.
c
  Other included computer upgrades, word processing package purchases, and additional costs
for office personnel.
d
Jurisdiction did not indicate costs in this category.
e
  Zilwaukee reported incurring no additional costs as bilingual sample ballots and other bilingual
voting materials that it posted were paid for by the state and the county.
f
 The New York City response provided consolidated cost data for Bronx, Kings, Queens, and New
York counties.

Source: GAO survey.



In addition to the above jurisdictions, table 3 provides information on the
30 jurisdictions that were able to provide partial cost information.




Page 22                          GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
B-275220




Page 23    GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                           B-275220




Table 3: Jurisdictions’ Reported Partial
Costs for Providing Bilingual Voting                                         Types of
Assistance in 1996                                                           groups               Total polling         Bilingual
                                           Name of jurisdiction              assisted                   places    polling places
                                           Coconino Co., AZ                  S, I                            75               75
                                           Maricopa Co., AZ                  S, I                          843                92
                                           Pima Co., AZ                      S, I                          402               402
                                           Imperial Co., CA                  S                               65               65
                                           Kern Co., CAa                     S                             318               237
                                           Monterey Co., CA                  S                             169                52
                                           Riverside Co., CA                 S                             961               961
                                           San Bernardino Co., CAa           S                             876               291
                                           Tulare Co., CAa                   S                             168               168
                                           Ventura Co., CA                   S                             427               427
                                           Yuba Co., CA                      S                               43               43
                                           Saguache Co., CO                  S                               10               10
                                           Hartford Town, CT                 S                               27               27
                                           Collier Co., FL                   S, I                            94               94
                                           Dade Co., FL                      S                             576               576
                                           Hillsborough Co., FL              S                             314               314
                                           Monroe, Co., FL                   S                               33               33
                                           Orange Co., FL                    S                             218               218
                                           Passaic Co., NJ                   S                             279                81
                                           Union Co., NJ                     S                             219                46
                                           Cibola Co., NM                    S, I                            30               30
                                           Lea Co., NM                       S                               46               46
                                           San Juan Co., NM                  S, I                            83               83
                                           Taos Co., NM                      S, I                            40               40
                                           Valencia Co., NM                  S                               36               36
                                           Philadelphia Co., PA              S                            1,681            1,681
                                           Lamb Co., TX                      S                               12               11
                                           Parmer Co., TX                    S                               10                9
                                           Collin Co., TX                    S                             119               119
                                           Jones Co., TX                     S                               15                5




                                           Page 24                   GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                          B-275220




 l Types of help                              Bilingual written         Bilingual      Other bilingual      Partial bilingual
s provided         Total election costs                  costs         oral costs                costs          costs totals
5 Written/oral                $242,600                unknown             $1,500                  $275e               $1,775
                                                                                                       d
2 Written/oral               3,500,000                  $3,400               294                                       3,694
                                                                                                       d
2 Written/oral               1,640,363                unknown                600                                         600
                                                                                 c                     d
5 Written/oral                 277,665                  70,200                                                        70,200
                                                                                 c                     d
7 Written/oral                 800,000                  23,000                                                        23,000
                                      d                                          c                     d
2 Written/oral                                          38,500                                                        38,500
                                                                                                       d
  Written/oral               2,700,000                  22,800          unknown                                       22,800
                                                                                                       d
  Written/oral               1,550,315                  72,400              2,340                                     74,740
                                                                                 c                     d
8 Written/oral                 329,900                  18,591                                                        18,591
                                                                                 c                     e
7 Written/oral                unknown                    3,400                                     200                 3,600
                                                                                 c                     d
3 Written/oral                 188,896                  16,651                                                        16,651
                                                                                 c                     d
0 Written/oral                  28,000                     200                                                           200
                                                                                 c                     d
7 Written/oral                  24,370                   1,432                                                         1,432
                                                                                                       d
4 Written/oral                 540,000                   2,000          unknown                                        2,000
                                                                                 c                     d
6 Written/oral               2,700,000                  53,900                                                        53,900
                                                                                 c                     d
4 Written/oral               1,080,000                     700                                                           700
                                                                                 c                     d
3 Written/oral                  65,000                   2,662                                                         2,662
                                                                                 c                     d
8 Written/oral               1,348,400                  12,200                                                        12,200
                                                                                                       d
  Written/oral                 727,100                   8,349            25,000                                      33,349
                                                                                                       d
6 Written/oral                 634,800                  14,400              4,300                                     18,700
                                                                                                       d
0 Written/oral                  44,844                unknown               4,960                                      4,960
                                                                                 c                     d
6 Written/oral                  84,779                   9,699                                                         9,699
3 Written/oral                 450,100                unknown             64,600                 1,976e               66,576
                                         f                                                             d
0 Written/oral                                        unknown                120                                         120
6 Written/oral                 120,500                   2,000               500                 6,500e                9,000
                                         f                                                             d
  Written/oral                                        unknown               3,100                                      3,100
                                      b                                                                d
  Written/oral                   5,900                unknown                700                                         700
                                      b                                                                d
9 Written/oral                   5,500                unknown                600                                         600
9 Written/oral                 230,000b                  4,000                   c                     d
                                                                                                                       4,000
5 Written/oral                  10,983b               unknown                300                       d
                                                                                                                         300




                                          Page 25                 GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                             B-275220




                             Legend: S = Spanish heritage and I = American Indian.
                             a
                               Total election costs for Kern County, San Bernardino County, and Tulare County, CA, were only
                             for the primary election. Bilingual assistance costs for San Bernardino County were only for the
                             primary election. Bilingual assistance costs for Kern County and Tulare County were for both the
                             primary and general elections.
                             b
                              In Texas, the political parties paid the costs of the primary elections, while the jurisdictions paid
                             the costs for the general election.
                             c
                               For jurisdictions providing both written and oral assistance, but which reported no costs for oral
                             assistance, the oral assistance was reportedly provided by bilingual poll/office workers or
                             volunteers at no additional cost. For jurisdictions providing written assistance only, no oral
                             assistance was provided.
                             d
                                 Jurisdiction did not indicate costs in this category.
                             e
                               Other bilingual costs included: Coconino County, AZ, incurred mileage costs; Ventura County,
                             CA, replaced signs, instructions, and forms; San Juan County, NM, produced video and audio
                             tapes and purchased bulletin boards; and Valencia County, NM, purchased audio/visual
                             equipment for pollworker training.
                             f
                             Jurisdiction did not complete this question.

                             Source: GAO survey.




States’ Reported Costs for   Of the 12 state respondents that reported providing bilingual voting
Elections in 1996            assistance, Florida and Hawaii reported total bilingual voting assistance
                             costs for the 1996 elections. Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, New
                             Mexico, and Rhode Island provided partial cost data. Table 4 presents the
                             cost data reported by the seven states for the 1996 elections.




                             Page 26                             GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                              B-275220




Table 4: States’ Reported Costs for Providing Bilingual Voting Assistance in 1996
                              Type of help          Bilingual written      Bilingual oral                    Other bilingual            Total bilingual
State                         provided                         costs               costs                               costs                      costs
Total costs:
                                                                                                                                a
  Hawaii                       Written/oral                           $22,648                        $680                                      $23,328
                                                                                                        b                       a
  Florida                      Written                                   7,900                                                                     7,900
Partial costs:
                                                                                                        a                       a
  Arizona                      Written/oral                              3,970                                                                     3,970
                                                                                                        c                       a
  Massachusetts                Written/oral                              3,437                         0                                           3,437
                                                                                                        b                       a
  Michigan                     Written                                   3,930                                                                     3,930
                                                                                                                               d
  New Mexico                   Written/oral                          unknown                     9,400                $60,900                     70,300
                                                                                                        b                       a
  Rhode Island                 Written                                   8,000                                                                     8,000
                                              a
                                                  States did not report costs in these categories.
                                              b
                                                  States provided written assistance only; bilingual oral assistance costs were not applicable.
                                              c
                                                Massachusetts reported providing oral assistance at no additional cost by having state
                                              employees available that spoke the minority language.
                                              d
                                                  New Mexico provided grants to jurisdictions to provide bilingual voting assistance.

                                              Source: GAO survey.




States’ and Jurisdictions’                    For prior election years 1992 to 1995, 29 jurisdictions and 6 states provided
Reported Costs for Prior                      cost data. However, the cost data provided may not represent all bilingual
Elections                                     costs.

                                              The bilingual assistance costs jurisdictions reported for prior years’
                                              elections varied widely. For example, Central Falls City, RI, reported costs
                                              of $83 for 1992, $164 for 1993, $175 for 1994, but $0 for 1995. Los Angeles
                                              County, CA, reported costs of $451,800 for 1993, $764,900 for 1994, and
                                              $292,400 for 1995. Table 5 shows the prior year election costs reported by
                                              the jurisdictions.




                                              Page 27                            GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                         B-275220




Table 5: Reported Costs to Provide
Bilingual Voting Assistance by                                              Bilingual          Bilingual         Bilingual          Bilingual
Jurisdiction, Election Years 1992-1995   Name of jurisdiction             costs 1992         costs 1993        costs 1994         costs 1995
                                         Alameda Co., CA                      $67,300            $48,200          $191,800               $33,563
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Colusa Co., CA                            300                                  300
                                                                                       a                 a
                                         Imperial Co., CA                                                            47,800               16,700
                                                                                       a                                                       a
                                         Inyo Co., CA                                                  45                 90
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Kern Co., CA                           51,000                               30,000
                                                                                       a
                                         Los Angeles Co., CA                                     451,800           764,900               292,400
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Orange Co., CA                       160,084                              381,138
                                         Riverside Co., CA                      11,452              7,659            22,008               22,972
                                                                                                         a
                                         San Benito Co., CA                     12,562                               10,175                 418
                                         San Diego Co., CA                      19,299            25,557             45,000               28,800
                                         San Francisco City and                 34,552            45,865             43,571               35,632
                                         Co., CA
                                                                                       a                 a                                     a
                                         Santa Clara Co., CA                                                       352,447
                                         Tulare Co., CA                         38,100              9,900            19,400               11,000
                                                                                                                                               a
                                         Ventura Co., CA                           600                100            14,200
                                                                                       a                 a                                     a
                                         Yuba Co., CA                                                                28,793
                                                                                       a                 a                                     a
                                         Saguache Co., CO                                                               110
                                                                                       a                 a                   a
                                         Windham Co., CT                                                                                   1,700
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Orange Co., FL                          7,344                                5,400
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Bingham Co., ID                           500                                  500
                                                                                       a                 a                                     a
                                         Power Co., ID                                                                  200
                                                                                                                                               a
                                         Clyde Township, MI                        422                106               500
                                                                                       a
                                         Union Co., NJ                                            36,900             32,000               24,500
                                                             b
                                         New York City, NY                    127,060            309,620           450,624               264,226
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Jackson Co., NC                           325                                  332
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Lea Co., NM                            13,872                               12,195
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Adair Co., OK                             117                                  117
                                         Central Falls City, RI                      83               164               175                   0
                                                                                                         a                                     a
                                         Dewey Co., SD                             452                                  406
                                                                                       a                 a                                     a
                                         San Juan Co., UT                                                            49,700
                                         a
                                           Jurisdictions did not report costs in these years because, for example, they were unable to
                                         determine those costs or no elections were held.
                                         b
                                          The New York City response provided consolidated cost data for Bronx, Kings, Queens, and
                                         New York counties.

                                         Source: GAO survey.




                                         Page 28                         GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                       B-275220




                                       Similarly, the costs reported by the six states for prior election years
                                       varied. For example, for 1994, Hawaii reported costs of $610, while New
                                       Mexico reported costs of more than $70,000. Four of the states reported
                                       they did not incur any election costs in odd-numbered years, but other
                                       states did not provide cost information for a year. Table 6 shows the prior
                                       year election costs reported by the states.

Table 6: States’ Reported Prior Year
Election Costs, 1992-1995                                                     Bilingual          Bilingual        Bilingual     Bilingual
                                       State                                costs 1992         costs 1993       costs 1994    costs 1995
                                                                                         a                  a                           a
                                       Arizona                                                                     $10,000
                                                                                                            a                           a
                                       Hawaii                                     $1,872                               610
                                                                                                            a                           a
                                       Massachusetts                               3,000                             6,000
                                                                                                                                        a
                                       Michigan                                    1,590               $806          8,901
                                                                                         a                  a                           a
                                       New Mexico                                                                   70,300
                                       Texas                                    146,524            247,295           1,520      $248,281
                                       a
                                           States did not incur or did not provide costs for these years.

                                       Source: GAO survey.




                                       We are providing copies of this report to the Chairmen of the House and
                                       Senate Committees on the Judiciary and their respective Ranking Minority
                                       Members. We will also make copies available to others on request.

                                       Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix V. If you have any
                                       questions about this report, please call me on (202) 512-8777.

                                       Sincerely yours,




                                       Norman J. Rabkin
                                       Director, Administration of
                                         Justice Issues




                                       Page 29                            GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Contents



Letter                                                                                                   1


Appendix I                                                                                              32

Objectives, Scope,
and Methodology
Appendix II                                                                                             41

Listing of States and
Covered Jurisdictions
That Responded to
GAO’s Survey
Appendix III                                                                                            49

Coverage Criteria for
Implementation of the
Voting Rights Act
Provisions Regarding
Language Minority
Groups
Appendix IV                                                                                             52

Examples of Bilingual
Voting Written
Assistance Materials
Appendix V                                                                                              56

Major Contributors to
This Report
Tables                  Table 1: Jurisdictions and States that Reported Assisting Other                 15
                          Groups in 1996
                        Table 2: Jurisdictions’ Reported Total Costs for Providing                      20
                          Bilingual Voting Assistance in 1996




                        Page 30                GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
          Contents




          Table 3: Jurisdictions’ Reported Partial Costs for Providing                    24
            Bilingual Voting Assistance in 1996
          Table 4: States’ Reported Costs for Providing Bilingual Voting                  27
            Assistance in 1996
          Table 5: Reported Costs to Provide Bilingual Voting Assistance by               28
            Jurisdiction, Election Years 1992-1995
          Table 6: States’ Reported Prior Year Election Costs, 1992-1995                  29
          Table II.1: States and Covered Jurisdictions that Responded to                  41
            GAO’s Survey and the Applicable Ethnic and Minority Language
            Groups

Figures   Figure 1: Locations of Covered Jurisdictions by State                            6
          Figure 2: Number of Minority Language Groups by Ethnicity in                     7
            Covered Jurisdictions
          Figure 3: Percent of Jurisdictions Reporting Various Types of                    8
            Bilingual Voting Assistance for the 1996 General Election
          Figure 4: Types of Written Bilingual Voting Assistance                          10
            Jurisdictions Reported for the 1996 General Election
          Figure 5: Types of Written Bilingual Voting Assistance States                   11
            Reported for the 1996 General Election
          Figure 6: Types of Bilingual Oral Assistance Jurisdictions                      12
            Reported for the 1996 General Election
          Figure 7: Types of Bilingual Oral Assistance States Reported for                13
            the 1996 General Election
          Figure 8: Percent of Jurisdictions Providing Bilingual Cost Data                17
            for Elections in 1996
          Figure 9: Reasons Jurisdictions Could Not Provide Bilingual                     18
            Assistance Costs
          Figure I.1: Location and Number of Spanish Heritage Covered                     36
            Jurisdictions
          Figure I.2: Location and Number of Asian American Covered                       37
            Jurisdictions
          Figure I.3: Location and Number of American Indian and Alaskan                  38
            Native Covered Jurisdictions
          Figure IV.1: Bilingual Ballot - Comal County, TX                                53
          Figure IV.2: Bilingual Instructions - Los Angeles County, CA                    54




          Page 31                GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix I

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology


              Our objectives were to determine (1) what types of bilingual voting
              assistance states and covered jurisdictions provided during the 1996
              general election to implement the bilingual voting assistance provisions of
              the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended; and (2) the actual costs states
              and covered jurisdictions incurred in 1996 to provide bilingual voting
              assistance and materials, as well as the actual costs they incurred in prior
              elections. Regarding cost information, we agreed to collect election costs,
              not voter registration costs, and only obtain the actual bilingual costs of
              the states and covered jurisdictions (not estimates).

              We began our review by carrying out a search of the legal and social
              science literature on bilingual voting assistance. We reviewed the studies
              identified through the search, as well as relevant newspaper articles and
              reports by the Congressional Research Service. We also reviewed our 1986
              report on the costs and use of bilingual voting assistance during the 1984
              general election.1 We contacted Department of Justice and Bureau of
              Census officials to identify jurisdictions covered by the act.

              To address both our objectives, we sought descriptive data and other
              information about all 422 covered jurisdictions and the 28 states in which
              the jurisdictions were located, through mail-out questionnaires. We
              developed one questionnaire to request information from the covered
              jurisdictions and a second questionnaire to solicit information from the
              states in which the covered jurisdictions were located. We sent a
              questionnaire to election officials representing 3912 covered jurisdictions
              and the 28 states.

              With respect to the first objective, we requested, from each covered
              jurisdiction and state, information on the types of written and oral
              bilingual voting assistance provided. In addition, we asked the states and
              jurisdictions to provide samples of the written materials and information
              provided to minority language voters.




              1
               Bilingual Voting Assistance: Costs of and Use During the November 1984 General Election
              (GAO/GGD-86-134BR, Sept. 1986).
              2
               For the 25 covered jurisdictions in Alaska (as determined by the 1990 Census) and the 3 covered
              jurisdictions in Hawaii, state election officials requested that they be permitted to respond for the
              jurisdictions; in both Alaska and Hawaii, the state and not the local jurisdictions is responsible for
              election administration. Their responses are contained in discussions of state assistance. In addition,
              New York City Board of Election officials agreed to provide responses for four covered
              jurisdictions—Bronx, Kings, Queens, and New York Counties. Their response is included in the
              discussions on jurisdiction assistance. Thus, in total, 422 covered jurisdictions were represented by the
              jurisdictions to which we mailed surveys.



              Page 32                         GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix I
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




Regarding the second objective, we asked the covered jurisdictions and
states to provide actual cost information for the 1996 general election,
including early voting and absentee voting costs, and for the primary
elections. We also asked the jurisdictions and states to provide actual data
for other costs that were the result of providing bilingual voting assistance,
e.g., for special equipment such as enhanced voting machines. We solicited
information on the actual costs incurred by the jurisdictions and states to
provide written and oral assistance costs as well as other related costs for
elections between 1992 and 1995. If, however, a state or jurisdiction could
not provide actual cost data, we asked that it not provide estimated costs.

Further, we used the questionnaires to collect information on bilingual
voting assistance laws in the 28 states. Specifically, we asked the states
and jurisdictions to provide information on any state or local bilingual
voting assistance requirements.

To develop the questionnaires, we spoke with officials in the Voting Rights
Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. In
addition, we contacted state elections officials in the 28 states where the
422 jurisdictions were located to (1) obtain the names and addresses of the
appropriate election officials in the covered jurisdictions and (2) ascertain
what information might be available on the bilingual voting assistance
materials provided and the costs of providing such materials. We pretested
the questionnaires, by telephone, with election officials from judgmentally
selected states and covered jurisdictions. Through these pretests, we
received input from states and jurisdictions in different geographic
regions. We revised the questionnaires on the basis of this input.

On November 15, 1996, we mailed the questionnaires. We followed up with
a second mailing to those jurisdictions that had not responded by
December 23, 1996. In mid-January 1997, we followed up with phone calls
to election officials in those jurisdictions and states that had not
responded.

In all, we received information about 323 of the 422 covered jurisdictions
and 26 of the 28 states. Specifically, we received fully or partially
completed responses from 292 (75 percent) of the 391 covered
jurisdictions sent questionnaires. Alaska and Hawaii provided information
for the 28 jurisdictions in their states. The New York City Board of
Election provided responses for four covered jurisdictions—Bronx, Kings,
Queens, and New York Counties.




Page 33                    GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix I
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




To the extent practical, we attempted to verify the completeness and
accuracy of the responses. We conducted edit checks of key responses for
completeness. When necessary, we contacted respondents to obtain
responses to incomplete answers and to resolve any apparent
inconsistencies between answers to different questions. For Los Angeles
County, we contacted an election official to determine the source of Los
Angeles’ reported bilingual assistance cost information. As a consistency
check, where possible, we compared questionnaire responses on the
assistance provided with the samples of written election materials the
respondents provided us. Of the 258 respondents reporting that they
provided written bilingual voting assistance, 155 or 60 percent sent us
samples of the bilingual materials they provided.

In addition, a number of jurisdictions provided us documentation
supporting their costs. Ten jurisdictions provided copies of invoices they
received to support, in total or in part, the bilingual costs they reported
and seven jurisdictions provided, in their questionnaire responses,
itemized cost breakdowns to support the costs they reported. For
example, Pima County, AZ, provided copies of invoices supporting the
$600 in costs it reported; Monterey County, CA, provided invoices totaling
$17,511.68 it received for, among other things, translations of candidate
statements and ballot measures; and San Bernardino County, CA, showed
on its response, among other things, calculations to support $2,340 it paid
in pay adjustments to its bilingual staff. A Los Angeles County official told
us that their reported costs were prepared by their budget and accounting
section, which tracks the cost information, and were based on hard copy
evidence. Moreover, she said that the county has to follow accounting
rules and regulations specified by the county auditor. Furthermore, we
extended our reporting deadline, because we had asked for actual costs
and some jurisdictions, such as New York City and San Francisco, had not
received all of their invoices in time to meet our originally requested date.
The supporting documentation the jurisdictions provided was not
inconsistent with the bilingual costs they reported. Because the
jurisdictions that reported costs were geographically dispersed, it was not
practical to fully verify the costs reported.

For both objectives, however, the questionnaire findings were affected by
a variety of limitations in the information and data available. The covered
jurisdictions varied in the number of polling places where bilingual
assistance was provided, the size of the populations in need of bilingual
assistance, and the number of minority groups provided bilingual
assistance within the jurisdiction. Accordingly, comparisons across



Page 34                    GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix I
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




jurisdictions are not meaningful and findings should not be projected to
nonrespondents.

Further, the response rate varied across minority language groups. We
received information about 262 (74 percent) of the 352 jurisdictions
required to provide assistance to Spanish heritage groups. Figure I.1
illustrates the location and number of these jurisdictions.




Page 35                    GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                                             Appendix I
                                                             Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




Figure I.1: Location and Number of Spanish Heritage Covered Jurisdictions




                                                                                                                                         NY                MA
                                                                                                  WI
                                                                                                                                         (6)               (5)
                                                                                                  (1)
                                                                                                              MI
                                                                                                              (4)
                                                                                                                                   PA                       RI
                                                                                                                                   (1)               CT     (1)
                                                                                                                                                     (4)
             CA                                                                                         IL
            (17)                                                                                                                               NJ
                                                         CO                                             (1)                                    (5)
                                                         (9)




                                    AZ
                                                      NM
                                    15
                                                      (23)



                                                                          TX
                                                                          254


                                                                                                                             FL
                                                                                                                             (6)




       1      Statewide - all jurisdictions covered
   (       ) Limited coverage - number of covered jurisdictions indicated in (      )

              Coverge does not apply


                                                             Source: GAO analysis of Department of Justice and Bureau of Census data.




                                                             We received information about all 10 jurisdictions required to provide
                                                             assistance to Asian Americans. Figure I.2 illustrates the location and
                                                             number of these jurisdictions.




                                                             Page 36                      GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                                       Appendix I
                                                       Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




Figure I.2: Location and Number of Asian American Covered Jurisdictions




                                                                                                                                   NY
                                                                                                                                   (3)




             CA
             (4)




                                               HI
                                               (3)



        1      Statewide - all jurisdictions covered
    (       ) Limited coverage - number of covered jurisdictions indicated in (   )

               Coverge does not apply


                                                       Source: GAO analysis of Department of Justice and Bureau of Census data.




                                                       We received information representing 513 (77 percent) of the 66
                                                       jurisdictions required to provide assistance to American Indians. The state
                                                       of Alaska provided statewide information on assistance provided to


                                                       3
                                                        We received statewide information from Alaska where there are six jurisdictions with American
                                                       Indian populations.



                                                       Page 37                        GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                                            Appendix I
                                                            Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




                                                            Alaskan Natives (25 jurisdictions). Figure I.3 illustrates the location and
                                                            number of the American Indian and Alaskan Native covered jurisdictions.


Figure I.3: Location and Number of American Indian and Alaskan Native Covered Jurisdictions




                                                                          ND
                                                                          (3)
                  OR
                  (1)
                                   ID
                                                                         SD                                                                 NY
                                   (4)
                                                                         (8)                                                                (1)


                                                                                           IA
                                                                                           (1)
                             NV
            CA               (2)         UT
            (3)                          (1)            CO
                                                        CO
                                                        (2)
                                                        (9)

                                                                                                                                      NC
                                                                                                                                      (1)
                                     AZ                                          OK
                                     (9)              NM                         (1)
                                                      (9)

                                                                                                       MS
                                                                                                       (6)
                                                                           TX                    LA
                                                                           (2)                   (1)

                        AK
                                                                                                                                FL
                        25                                                                                                      (5)




       1      Statewide - all jurisdictions covered
   (       ) Limited coverage - number of covered jurisdictions indicated in (         )

              Coverge does not apply


                                                            Note: Of the 25 Alaskan jurisdictions, 6 provided assistance to both Alaskan Natives and
                                                            American Indians.

                                                            Source: GAO analysis of Department of Justice and Bureau of Census data.




                                                            Page 38                         GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix I
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




Thus, we can report responses representing all Alaskan Native and all
Asian American jurisdictions. We can report responses representing
77 percent of the American Indian jurisdictions. Of the 90 Spanish heritage
jurisdictions (26 percent) not reporting, most were in Texas. Since even
within a language group, the jurisdictions are very different, comparisons
across jurisdictions or projections of findings to the nonrespondents
within a particular language group should not be made.

We received information from jurisdictions in all 28 states. The
respondents included urban and rural jurisdictions. We did not, however,
receive information from the major metropolitan areas of Suffolk County,
MA—Boston—and Harris County, TX—Houston. We did not receive
information from the states of Colorado and Nevada.

In addition, 20 of the jurisdictions responding reported providing no
bilingual voting assistance. Seventeen of these jurisdictions were to
provide assistance to American Indians; they comprised one fourth of the
66 jurisdictions required to provide assistance to American Indians. Three
of the 20 jurisdictions were to provide assistance to Spanish heritage
groups. Since the 20 jurisdictions were not randomly distributed among
the respondents but were primarily American Indian jurisdictions, there
may be something unique about these jurisdictions, e.g., the size of the
minority language population or the oral language tradition, that could
explain the responses. Further, since the responses were self-reported,
reflecting the interpretation of the respondent, conclusions regarding
compliance cannot be drawn without further inquiry.

In addition, differences in the calculation and reporting of election costs
precluded comparisons among the jurisdictions and states that could
provide election cost and/or bilingual cost data. For example, for Texas
jurisdictions’ total election costs did not include the costs of primary
elections because the political parties paid the primary costs, while across
California the jurisdictions incurred both primary and election costs.
Because of the differences in election and bilingual assistance costs across
the states and jurisdictions, we did not attempt to compare the percentage
of bilingual costs to total costs across jurisdictions, calculate any summary
costs, or use these data to project the costs of nonrespondents. We only
reported the cost figures as provided by the jurisdictions and states that
could provide us with actual cost data. We did not verify independently the
cost data provided.




Page 39                    GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix I
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




Further, in an effort to obtain cost information in addition to that provided
by the questionnaire respondents, we contacted three printers in Texas.
We focused on Texas because it had the largest number of covered
jurisdictions (254) of any state and these jurisdictions comprised over half
of the total of covered jurisdictions nationwide. Since few Texas
jurisdictions could provide any cost data and most Texas jurisdictions
used these printers, we contacted them to ask whether they could provide
cost information.

On April 9, 1997, we requested comments from the Attorney General or her
designee on a draft of this report. On April 18, 1997, the Chief of the Voting
Section, Civil Rights Division, on behalf of the Attorney General, provided
technical information, which we incorporated where appropriate. We did
our work between July 1996 and April 1997 in accordance with generally
accepted government auditing standards.




Page 40                    GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix II

Listing of States and Covered Jurisdictions
That Responded to GAO’s Survey

                                            The following table shows the states and covered jurisdictions that
                                            responded to GAO’s survey and the related ethnic and minority language
                                            groups to whom bilingual voting assistance applied.


Table II.1: States and Covered Jurisdictions That Responded to GAO’s Survey and the Applicable Ethnic and Minority
Language Groups
State                          Covered jurisdiction                          Ethnic groups (minority language group)
Alaskaa                                                                      Alaskan Natives (Eskimo, Aleut); American Indian
                                                                             (Athapascan, Tanaina, Tlinglit, Kuchin)
Arizona                      Coconino County                                 American Indian (Havasupai, Hopi, Navajo);
                                                                             Spanish heritage
                             Gila County                                     American Indian (Apache); Spanish heritage
                             Graham County                                   American Indian (Apache); Spanish heritage
                             Greenlee County                                 Spanish heritage
                             La Paz County                                   Spanish heritage
                             Maricopa County                                 American Indian (Pima, Yavapai); Spanish heritage
                             Mohave County                                   Spanish heritage
                             Pima County                                     American Indian (Pima); Spanish heritage
                             Pinal County                                    American Indian (Apache, Pima); Spanish heritage
California                   Alameda County                                  Asian American (Chinese); Spanish heritage
                             Colusa County                                   American Indian (Wintun)
                             Fresno County                                   Spanish heritage
                             Imperial County                                 Spanish heritage
                             Inyo County                                     American Indian (Spanish)
                             Kern County                                     Spanish heritage
                             Kings County                                    Spanish heritage
                             Lake County                                     American Indian (Spanish)
                             Los Angeles County                              Asian American (Chinese, Filipino, Japanese,
                                                                             Vietnamese); Spanish heritage
                             Merced County                                   Spanish heritage
                             Monterey County                                 Spanish heritage
                             Orange County                                   Asian American (Vietnamese); Spanish heritage
                             Riverside County                                Spanish heritage
                             San Benito County                               Spanish heritage
                             San Bernardino County                           Spanish heritage
                             San Diego County                                Spanish heritage
                             San Francisco County                            Asian American (Chinese)
                             Santa Clara County                              Spanish heritage
                             Tulare County                                   Spanish heritage
                             Ventura County                                  Spanish heritage
                                                                                                                   (continued)


                                            Page 41                GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                               Appendix II
                               Listing of States and Covered Jurisdictions
                               That Responded to GAO’s Survey




State           Covered jurisdiction                                  Ethnic groups (minority language group)
                Yuba County                                           Spanish heritage
Coloradob       Alamosa County                                        Spanish heritage
                Archuleta County                                      Spanish heritage
                Bent County                                           Spanish heritage
                Conejos County                                        Spanish heritage
                La Plata County                                       American Indian (Ute)
                Las Animas County                                     Spanish heritage
                Montezuma County                                      American Indian (Ute)
                Otero County                                          Spanish heritage
                Rio Grande County                                     Spanish heritage
                Saguache County                                       Spanish heritage
Connecticut     Bridgeport Town (Fairfield County)                    Spanish heritage
                Hartford Town (Hartford County)                       Spanish heritage
                New Britain Town (Hartford County)                    Spanish heritage
                Windham Town (Windham County)                         Spanish heritage
Florida         Broward County                                        American Indian (Mikasuki, Muskogee); Spanish
                                                                      heritage
                Collier County                                        American Indian (Mikasuki)
                Dade County                                           American Indian (Mikasuki); Spanish heritage
                Hardee County                                         Spanish heritage
                Hendry County                                         American Indian (Mikasuki, Muskogee)
                Hillsborough County                                   Spanish heritage
                Monroe County                                         Spanish heritage
                Orange County                                         Spanish heritage
Hawaiia                                                               Asian American (Filipino, Japanese)
Idaho           Bingham County                                        American Indian (Shoshoni)
                Owyhee County                                         American Indian (Shoshoni)
                Power County                                          American Indian (Shoshoni)
Illinois        Cook County                                           Spanish heritage
Iowa            Tama County                                           American Indian (Fox)
Louisiana       Avoyelles Parish                                      American Indian (French)
Massachusetts   Chelsea City (Suffolk County)                         Spanish heritage
                Holyoke City (Hampden County)                         Spanish heritage
                Springfield City (Hampden County)                     Spanish heritage
Michigan        Clyde Township (Allegan County)                       Spanish heritage
                Zilwaukee Township (Saginaw County)                   Spanish heritage
Mississippi     Jones County                                          American Indian (Choctaw)
                Kemper County                                         American Indian (Choctaw)
                Leake County                                          American Indian (Choctaw)
                                                                                                             (continued)


                               Page 42                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                Appendix II
                                Listing of States and Covered Jurisdictions
                                That Responded to GAO’s Survey




State            Covered jurisdiction                                  Ethnic groups (minority language group)
                 Neshoba County                                        American Indian (Choctaw)
                 Newton County                                         American Indian (Choctaw)
Nevadab          Elko County                                           American Indian (Shoshoni)
                 Humboldt County                                       American Indian (Paiute)
New Jersey       Essex County                                          Spanish heritage
                 Middlesex County                                      Spanish heritage
                 Passaic County                                        Spanish heritage
                 Union County                                          Spanish heritage
New Mexico       Chaves County                                         Spanish heritage
                 Cibola County                                         American Indian (Keres, Navajo, Zuni); Spanish
                                                                       heritage
                 Colfax County                                         Spanish heritage
                 Dona Ana County                                       Spanish heritage
                 Eddy County                                           Spanish heritage
                 Grant County                                          Spanish heritage
                 Guadalupe County                                      Spanish heritage
                 Harding County                                        Spanish heritage
                 Hidalgo County                                        Spanish heritage
                 Lea County                                            Spanish heritage
                 Luna County                                           Spanish heritage
                 McKinley County                                       American Indian (Navajo, Zuni)
                 Mora County                                           Spanish heritage
                 Quay County                                           Spanish heritage
                 Roosevelt County                                      Spanish heritage
                 San Juan County                                       American Indian (Navajo)
                 Sandoval County                                       American Indian (Jicarilla, Keres, Navajo, Towa)
                 Santa Fe County                                       Spanish heritage
                 Socorro County                                        American Indian (Navajo); Spanish heritage
                 Taos County                                           American Indian (Tiwa); Spanish heritage
                 Torrance County                                       Spanish heritage
                 Union County                                          Spanish heritage
                 Valencia County                                       American Indian (Keres, Tiwa); Spanish heritage
New York         Franklin County                                       American Indian (Mohawk)
                                 c
                 New York City                                         Asian American (Chinese), Spanish heritage
                 Suffolk County                                        Spanish heritage
North Carolina   Jackson County                                        American Indian
North Dakota     Benson County                                         American Indian (Dakota)
                 Eddy County                                           American Indian (Dakota)
                 Ramsey County                                         American Indian (Dakota)
                                                                                                              (continued)


                                Page 43                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                               Appendix II
                               Listing of States and Covered Jurisdictions
                               That Responded to GAO’s Survey




State          Covered jurisdiction                                   Ethnic groups (minority language group)
Oklahoma       Adair County                                           American Indian (Cherokee)
Oregon         Malheur County                                         American Indian (Paiute)
Pennsylvania   Philadelphia County                                    Spanish heritage
Rhode Island   Central Falls City (Providence County)                 Spanish heritage
South Dakota   Dewey County                                           American Indian (Dakota)
               Gregory County                                         American Indian (Dakota)
               Lyman County                                           American Indian (Dakota)
               Mellette County                                        American Indian (Dakota)
               Shannon County                                         American Indian
               Todd County                                            American Indian (Dakota)
               Tripp County                                           American Indian (Dakota)
               Ziebach County                                         American Indian (Dakota)
Texas          Andrews County                                         Spanish heritage
               Aransas County                                         Spanish heritage
               Archer County                                          Spanish heritage
               Atascosa County                                        Spanish heritage
               Bailey County                                          Spanish heritage
               Bastrop County                                         Spanish heritage
               Baylor County                                          Spanish heritage
               Bee County                                             Spanish heritage
               Bowie County                                           Spanish heritage
               Brazoria County                                        Spanish heritage
               Burnet County                                          Spanish heritage
               Caldwell County                                        Spanish heritage
               Calhoun County                                         Spanish heritage
               Callahan County                                        Spanish heritage
               Cameron County                                         Spanish heritage
               Camp County                                            Spanish heritage
               Carson County                                          Spanish heritage
               Castro County                                          Spanish heritage
               Childress County                                       Spanish heritage
               Cochran County                                         Spanish heritage
               Coke County                                            Spanish heritage
               Collin County                                          Spanish heritage
               Concho County                                          Spanish heritage
               Cooke County                                           Spanish heritage
               Comal County                                           Spanish heritage
               Coryell County                                         Spanish heritage
               Crane County                                           Spanish heritage
                                                                                                           (continued)


                               Page 44                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                       Appendix II
                       Listing of States and Covered Jurisdictions
                       That Responded to GAO’s Survey




State   Covered jurisdiction                                  Ethnic groups (minority language group)
        Crockett County                                       Spanish heritage
        Crosby County                                         Spanish heritage
        Culberson County                                      Spanish heritage
        Dallam County                                         Spanish heritage
        Dallas County                                         Spanish heritage
        Dawson County                                         Spanish heritage
        Deaf Smith County                                     Spanish heritage
        Denton County                                         Spanish heritage
        Dewitt County                                         Spanish heritage
        Dickens County                                        Spanish heritage
        Dimmit County                                         Spanish heritage
        Donley County                                         Spanish heritage
        Duval County                                          Spanish heritage
        Eastland County                                       Spanish heritage
        Ector County                                          Spanish heritage
        Edwards County                                        Spanish heritage
        El Paso County                                        American Indian (Spanish); Spanish heritage
        Ellis County                                          Spanish heritage
        Erath County                                          Spanish heritage
        Falls County                                          Spanish heritage
        Fannin County                                         Spanish heritage
        Fayette County                                        Spanish heritage
        Fisher County                                         Spanish heritage
        Floyd County                                          Spanish heritage
        Foard County                                          Spanish heritage
        Fort Bend County                                      Spanish heritage
        Franklin County                                       Spanish heritage
        Freestone County                                      Spanish heritage
        Frio County                                           Spanish heritage
        Gaines County                                         Spanish heritage
        Garza County                                          Spanish heritage
        Gillespie County                                      Spanish heritage
        Glasscock County                                      Spanish heritage
        Goliad County                                         Spanish heritage
        Gonzales County                                       Spanish heritage
        Gray County                                           Spanish heritage
        Grayson County                                        Spanish heritage
        Gregg County                                          Spanish heritage
        Grimes County                                         Spanish heritage
                                                                                                   (continued)


                       Page 45                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                       Appendix II
                       Listing of States and Covered Jurisdictions
                       That Responded to GAO’s Survey




State   Covered jurisdiction                                  Ethnic groups (minority language group)
        Guadalupe County                                      Spanish heritage
        Hall County                                           Spanish heritage
        Hardeman County                                       Spanish heritage
        Hardin County                                         Spanish heritage
        Hartley County                                        Spanish heritage
        Hays County                                           Spanish heritage
        Hemphill County                                       Spanish heritage
        Henderson County                                      Spanish heritage
        Hidalgo County                                        Spanish heritage
        Hockley County                                        Spanish heritage
        Hood County                                           Spanish heritage
        Hopkins County                                        Spanish heritage
        Howard County                                         Spanish heritage
        Hudspeth County                                       Spanish heritage
        Hunt County                                           Spanish heritage
        Irion County                                          Spanish heritage
        Jack County                                           Spanish heritage
        Jackson County                                        Spanish heritage
        Jeff Davis County                                     Spanish heritage
        Jefferson County                                      Spanish heritage
        Jim Hogg County                                       Spanish heritage
        Jim Wells County                                      Spanish heritage
        Jones County                                          Spanish heritage
        Karnes County                                         Spanish heritage
        Kaufman County                                        Spanish heritage
        Kenedy County                                         Spanish heritage
        Kent County                                           Spanish heritage
        Kerr County                                           Spanish heritage
        Kimble County                                         Spanish heritage
        Kinney County                                         Spanish heritage
        Kleberg County                                        Spanish heritage
        La Salle County                                       Spanish heritage
        Lamb County                                           Spanish heritage
        Lavaca County                                         Spanish heritage
        Lee County                                            Spanish heritage
        Leon County                                           Spanish heritage
        Limestone County                                      Spanish heritage
        Lipscomb County                                       Spanish heritage
        Live Oak County                                       Spanish heritage
                                                                                                   (continued)


                       Page 46                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                        Appendix II
                        Listing of States and Covered Jurisdictions
                        That Responded to GAO’s Survey




State   Covered jurisdiction                                   Ethnic groups (minority language group)
        Llano County                                           Spanish heritage
        Lubbock County                                         Spanish heritage
        Lynn County                                            Spanish heritage
        Madison County                                         Spanish heritage
        Martin County                                          Spanish heritage
        Mason County                                           Spanish heritage
        McLennan County                                        Spanish heritage
        McMullen County                                        Spanish heritage
        Medina County                                          Spanish heritage
        Menard County                                          Spanish heritage
        Midland County                                         Spanish heritage
        Milam County                                           Spanish heritage
        Mitchell County                                        Spanish heritage
        Montague County                                        Spanish heritage
        Moore County                                           Spanish heritage
        Newton County                                          Spanish heritage
        Nolan County                                           Spanish heritage
        Oldham County                                          Spanish heritage
        Orange County                                          Spanish heritage
        Palo Pinto County                                      Spanish heritage
        Panola County                                          Spanish heritage
        Parmer County                                          Spanish heritage
        Pecos County                                           Spanish heritage
        Polk County                                            American Indian (Alabama)
        Potter County                                          Spanish heritage
        Presidio County                                        Spanish heritage
        Reagan County                                          Spanish heritage
        Real County                                            Spanish heritage
        Red River County                                       Spanish heritage
        Refugio County                                         Spanish heritage
        Roberts County                                         Spanish heritage
        Robertson County                                       Spanish heritage
        Runnels County                                         Spanish heritage
        Rusk County                                            Spanish heritage
        San Augustine County                                   Spanish heritage
        San Saba County                                        Spanish heritage
        Schleicher County                                      Spanish heritage
        Scurry County                                          Spanish heritage
        Shelby County                                          Spanish heritage
                                                                                                    (continued)


                        Page 47                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                           Appendix II
                           Listing of States and Covered Jurisdictions
                           That Responded to GAO’s Survey




State       Covered jurisdiction                                         Ethnic groups (minority language group)
            Smith County                                                 Spanish heritage
            Starr County                                                 Spanish heritage
            Sutton County                                                Spanish heritage
            Swisher County                                               Spanish heritage
            Tarrant County                                               Spanish heritage
            Taylor County                                                Spanish heritage
            Terrell County                                               Spanish heritage
            Terry County                                                 Spanish heritage
            Throckmorton County                                          Spanish heritage
            Titus County                                                 Spanish heritage
            Tom Green County                                             Spanish heritage
            Travis County                                                Spanish heritage
            Upton County                                                 Spanish heritage
            Uvalde County                                                Spanish heritage
            Val Verde County                                             Spanish heritage
            Van Zandt County                                             Spanish heritage
            Victoria County                                              Spanish heritage
            Ward County                                                  Spanish heritage
            Washington County                                            Spanish heritage
            Webb County                                                  Spanish heritage
            Wharton County                                               Spanish heritage
            Wichita County                                               Spanish heritage
            Wilbarger County                                             Spanish heritage
            Willacy County                                               Spanish heritage
            Wilson County                                                Spanish heritage
            Winkler County                                               Spanish heritage
            Wood County                                                  Spanish heritage
            Yoakum County                                                Spanish heritage
            Zapata County                                                Spanish heritage
            Zavala County                                                Spanish heritage
Utah        San Juan County                                              American Indian (Navajo, Ute)
Wisconsin   Curtiss Village (Clark County)                               Spanish heritage

                           a
                               Alaska and Hawaii provided consolidated responses for all state jurisdictions.
                           b
                               State did not respond to GAO’s survey.
                           c
                           The New York City response provided consolidated responses for Bronx, Kings, Queens, and
                           New York counties.

                           Source: GAO survey and Appendix to Part 55, Code of Federal Regulations (28 CFR Ch.1).




                           Page 48                            GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix III

Coverage Criteria for Implementation of the
Voting Rights Act Provisions Regarding
Language Minority Groups
                       The Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, contains two sections—4
                       (f)(4) and 203(c)—which provide criteria for determining which states and
                       jurisdictions are to be covered by its minority language provisions. The
                       following material was excerpted from the Code of Federal Regulations
                       (28 CFR Ch.1), which describes the coverage criteria.


                       (a) Coverage formula. Section 4(f)(4) applies to any State or political
§55.5 Coverage Under   subdivision in which
Section 4(f)(4).
                           (1) Over five percent of the voting age citizens were, on November 1,
                           1972, members of a single language minority group,

                           (2) Registration and election materials were provided only in English
                           on November 1, 1972, and

                           (3) Fewer than 50 percent of the voting-age citizens were registered to
                           vote or voted in the 1972 Presidential election.

                       All three conditions must be satisfied before coverage exists under section
                       4(f)(4).1

                       (b) Coverage may be determined with regard to section 4(f)(4) on a
                       statewide or political subdivision basis.

                           (1) Whenever the determination is made that the bilingual requirements
                           of section 4(f)(4) are applicable to an entire State, these requirements
                           apply to each of the State’s political subdivisions as well as to the
                           State. In other words, each political subdivision within a covered
                           State is subject to the same requirements as the State.

                           (2) Where an entire State is not covered under section 4(f)(4),
                           individual political subdivisions may be covered.


                       (a) Coverage formula. There are four ways in which a political subdivision
§55.6 Coverage Under   can become subject to section 203(c).2
Section 203(c).
                           (1) Political subdivision approach. A political subdivision is covered if-


                       1
                        Coverage is based on sections 4(b) (third sentence), 4(c), and 4(f)(3).
                       2
                        The criteria for coverage are contained in section 203(b).



                       Page 49                          GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix III
Coverage Criteria for Implementation of the
Voting Rights Act Provisions Regarding
Language Minority Groups




  (i) More than 5 percent of its voting age citizens are members of a
  single language minority group and are limited-English proficient; and

  (ii) The illiteracy rate of such language minority citizens in
  the political subdivision is higher than the national illiteracy rate.

  (2) State approach. A political subdivision is covered if-

  (i) It is located in a state in which more than 5 percent of the voting
  age citizens are members of a single language minority and are
  limited-English proficient;

  (ii) The illiteracy rate of such language minority citizens in the state is
  higher than the national illiteracy rate; and

  (iii) Five percent or more of the voting age citizens of the political
  subdivision are members of such language minority group and are
  limited-English proficient.

  (3) Numerical approach. A political subdivision is covered if-

  (i) More than 10,000 of its voting age citizens are members of a single
  language minority group and are limited-English proficient; and

  (ii) The illiteracy rate of such language minority citizens in the
  political subdivision is higher than the national illiteracy rate.

  (4) Indian reservation approach. A political subdivision is covered if
  there is located within its borders all or any part of an Indian
  reservation-

  (i) In which more than 5 percent of the voting age American Indian or
  Alaska Native citizens are members of a single language minority
  group and are limited-English proficient; and

  (ii) The illiteracy rate of such language minority citizens is higher than
  the national illiteracy rate.

(b) Definitions. For the purpose of determinations of coverage under
section 203(c), “limited-English proficient” means unable to speak or
understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral
process; “Indian reservation” means any area that is an American Indian or



Page 50                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix III
Coverage Criteria for Implementation of the
Voting Rights Act Provisions Regarding
Language Minority Groups




Alaska Native area, as defined by the Census Bureau for the purposes of
the 1990 decennial census; and “illiteracy” means the failure to complete
the fifth primary grade.

(c) Determinations. Determinations of coverage under section 203(c) are
made with regard to specific language groups of the language minorities
listed in section 203(e).




Page 51                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix IV

Examples of Bilingual Voting Written
Assistance Materials

               The following are excerpted examples of bilingual voting materials
               provided by covered jurisdictions.




               Page 52                GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                            Appendix IV
                                            Examples of Bilingual Voting Written
                                            Assistance Materials




Figure IV.1: Bilingual Ballot - Comal County, TX




                                            Page 53                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
                                           Appendix IV
                                           Examples of Bilingual Voting Written
                                           Assistance Materials




Figure IV.2: Bilingual Instructions - Los Angeles County, CA


  English




  Vietnamese




 Chinese




                                           Page 54                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
           Appendix IV
           Examples of Bilingual Voting Written
           Assistance Materials




Spanish




Japanese




Tagalog




           Page 55                     GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Appendix V

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Laurie E. Ekstrand, Associate Director
General Government      James M. Blume, Project Director
Division, Washington,   Robert P. Glick, Project Manager
D.C.                    Barbara A. Stolz, Senior Evaluator
                        Amy E. Lyon, Senior Evaluator
                        David P. Alexander, Senior Social Science Analyst
                        Stuart M. Kaufman, Senior Social Science Analyst
                        Jim Fields, Senior Social Science Analyst
                        Katherine M. Wheeler, Publishing Advisor
                        Michelle D. Wiggins, Issue Area Assistant


                        Ann H. Finley, Senior Attorney
Office of the General
Counsel




(182028)                Page 56                GAO/GGD-97-81 Bilingual Voting Assistance Provided and Costs
Ordering Information

The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free.
Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the
following address, accompanied by a check or money order
made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when
necessary. VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also.
Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address
are discounted 25 percent.

Orders by mail:

U.S. General Accounting Office
P.O. Box 6015
Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015

or visit:

Room 1100
700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. NW)
U.S. General Accounting Office
Washington, DC

Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000
or by using fax number (301) 258-4066, or TDD (301) 413-0006.

Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and
testimony. To receive facsimile copies of the daily list or any
list from the past 30 days, please call (202) 512-6000 using a
touchtone phone. A recorded menu will provide information on
how to obtain these lists.

For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET,
send an e-mail message with "info" in the body to:

info@www.gao.gov

or visit GAO’s World Wide Web Home Page at:

http://www.gao.gov




PRINTED ON    RECYCLED PAPER
United States                       Bulk Rate
General Accounting Office      Postage & Fees Paid
Washington, D.C. 20548-0001           GAO
                                 Permit No. G100
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

Address Correction Requested