In California, the State Assembly has passed Bill 1233, more commonly known as the Padilla Bill. Under the guidelines set forth by the Padilla Bill, the Attorney General must make sure that all ballot translation initiatives and petitions are available in the languages spoken by minorities in the state.
Under the Federal Voting Rights Act, any language that is spoken by at least 5% of the state’s population is considered a subdivision large enough for representation, and that same number will be used for languages under the Padilla Bill.
The Spanish translation of all bills will be mandatory, considering 74% of the Californian population speaks Spanish at home and are not proficient in English.
Petition Ballot Translation Upholds American Values
America is unique in that it’s a melting pot of many different cultures. By not offering an English to Spanish translation for citizens who are interested in voting, we are essentially implying that they’re not welcome here.
No matter what language a United States citizen speaks, he or she is still a citizen and should be treated as such. California is taking a step in the right direction by keeping these values in mind and offering information in Spanish for the people who are willing to vote.
Additionally, such translations make the democracy of the country more efficient. If these voters didn’t have access to translated information, they might make uninformed decisions about the government and policies, which would defeat the purpose of voting in the first place.
Padilla is a Symbol of Foreign Success in America
Alex Padilla, the senator behind Bill 1233, was born into a family that was originally from Mexico but emigrated to the United States. His success as a United States senator proves how essential Spanish language translation is for families who are not proficient in English. Kids like Padilla are born into Spanish families every day.
While their parents know little to no English, they still have a vote in the management of their towns and cities, such as the school system. Therefore, they can make a better life for their children and they can grow up to be successful members of American society.
While the Padilla bill still needs to go through the final stages of approval in the Senate, it is a progressive first step for California. As more Spanish-speaking citizens settle in the United States, Spanish translation services become more essential.