The US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has finally released national mail voter registration forms in Diné, Apache and Yup’ik languages. This is the first time the federal commission has released mail voting materials in any Native American languages.
The EAC is responsible for maintaining the National Mail Voter Registration Form and forms are now available in 21 languages, but this is the first dedicated expansion of that effort to serve Native American communities.
To help voters from communities where languages are primarily or solely spoken have the same access to materials, the EAC is providing its first-ever audio translation of the National Mail Voter Registration Form. Voters wishing to utilize the Apache translation will have access to an audio file which talks them through the form. The EAC will look to utilize audio translations as appropriate in future translations.
“Election terminology can often be difficult to translate into other languages without the assistance of native speakers and translators,” the EAC commissioners said in a joint statement. “With access to election materials translated by native speakers from within their own communities, Native American voters will have a better understanding of the election process and greater accessibility.”
Samantha Mack, language assistance compliance manager at the Alaska Division of Elections stated, “We are so excited that the EAC is releasing content in one of our Native languages! Alaska Native people deserve equitable access to all parts of the electoral process, and translating important forms and content into our Indigenous languages is an important step in that direction.”
While the expansion of these translations is a critical step in expanding access to voter registration, the EAC will continue to identify additional ways to assist election officials in serving the Native American populations within their jurisdictions.
For more information about the EAC’s language access resources and other materials to assist voters for whom English is a second language and the election officials who serve them, visit https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/language-access.