Idaho’s Smallest County Now Offers Spanish Language Support to Its Voters

Idaho’s Smallest County Now Offers Spanish Language Support to Its Voters

Idaho’s Smallest County Now Offers Spanish Language Support to Its Voters

Located in eastern Idaho, Clark County is getting ready to offer Spanish-language voting material for the first time.

federal voting rights act Translation services are needed for language minorities during elections. Clark County is one of five in Idaho to provide assistance to non-English speakers.

According to the 2020 census, 41% of the 790 residents are Hispanic but a large Spanish-speaking population is not the only requirement. The Voting Act states that if a state or county has more than five percent of voting citizens with limited English skills, it must provide language assistance.

Other counties may have a large percentage of Spanish speakers, but Clark County was the only one to meet the threshold for limited language proficiency.

State Deputy Chief Secretary Chad Hawke said the requirement is based on census data, which does not track citizenship.

“It’s a pure mathematical calculation based on how people respond, and has no bearing on whether those individuals are registered to vote,” he said.

In an email, Clark County Clerk Camille Messick said she doesn’t think she has registered voters who speak exclusively Spanish. The county said it had not received any requests for primaries, but that an interpreter would still be available on November 8.

Lincoln County had to provide Spanish language support in the last decade after the 2010 census was established, fulfilling a Voting Rights Act requirement. At the latest count, they did not meet the threshold.

Lincoln County Clerk Cindy Seaver said she shared ballot layouts with Clark County and Clark County with other Spanish resources.

“It takes a lot to put an election together,” he said. “And so when you add, I don’t know, $1,000-1200, I think, for the choice of Spanish material, it’s really not that much.”

Clearwater, Idaho, Lewis and Nez Perce Counties will also provide translation services in native languages.

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