ICYMI: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Lawsuit fights restrictions on interpreters in Georgia runoff
November 29, 2018
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Lawsuit fights restrictions on interpreters in Georgia runoff
By Mark Niesse
When Georgians who don’t speak English well go to vote in runoff elections Tuesday, state law limits their ability to bring an interpreter.
A federal lawsuit asks a judge to intervene, allowing voters with limited English proficiency to use an interpreter of their choice to help them understand their ballots.
Registered voters have a right to get help when casting a ballot, said Stephanie Cho, executive director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, the civil rights organization that filed the lawsuit. State law restricting who can be an interpreter discourages voters from participating in democracy, she said.
“This is what voter suppression looks like in Georgia,” Cho said during a press conference Wednesday. “For the communities that are left out of the process, we are here to fight for their right to vote and for their voices to be heard.”
The lawsuit seeks court action before the Tuesday runoffs for Georgia secretary of state and Public Service Commission.
More than 500,000 Georgians identify themselves as having limited English proficiency, and most of them are Asian American or Latino, according to Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta.