SACRAMENTO – The California Senate took a major step toward involving the 6.9 million Californians who don’t speak English very well in the ballot initiative system today, passing SB 1233 by a vote of 24 to 14, with two abstentions. The bill would require the state to translate ballot initiative materials being circulated for signature-gathering into widely-spoken languages.
“This bill is an important step to protect the rights of all of California’s voters by providing election materials in different languages,” said bill author Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). “By failing to provide language appropriate petitions, thousands of voters have been and continue to be left out of the process of determining which initiatives qualify for the ballot. It is imperative that we provide initiative material in all the languages covered by the 1965 Federal Voting Rights Act,” said Senator Padilla.