Letters to the Editor Jan. 12, 2018

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Don Bowie - When did speaking English become a requirement of citizenship? Is there a new requirement that I'm not aware of?

Don Dix

If true, printing out voting instructions in 8 languages seems somewhat accommodating, wouldn't you say?


What is wrong with making sure that voters can read and understand voting instructions?

Bill B

So, is the test for citizenship in eight different languages?

Don Dix

So, how does one of these voters without a grasp of English deal with everyday communication, at say the DMV (since that is the origin of many automatic voter registrations)?

This was an arbitrary decision made by a small group (on the behalf of 2.5M voters). Maybe a little more transparency and oversight should be in place.


Je ne comprends pas.


Mrs. Flud--why don't you gather the hats yourself and drop them off at the shelter or at YCAP? What am I missing here? Why is there a problem?


Mudstump - I think Don Bowie is reasonably assuming that the voter is someone (in this voting scenario) who requires instructions in another language or cannot understand English is likely a naturalized person.
Since 1906 English has been a requirement for the naturalization process to become a US Citizen. It has been modified slightly over the years, refer to Immigration and Nationality Act - Sec. 312. [8 U.S.C. 1423] (a) No person except as otherwise provided in this title shall hereafter be naturalized as a citizen of the United States upon his own application who cannot demonstrate - (1) an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language: Provided, That the requirements of this paragraph relating to ability to read and write shall be met if the applicant can read or write simple words and phrases to the end that a reasonable test of his literacy shall be made and that no extraordinary or unreasonable conditions shall be imposed upon the applicant...

I know it's hard to know all these things, ya' know, unless your moniker is "Google" or you stay at a Holiday Inn Express every night.

Of course that's only becoming a citizen by the naturalization process and there are various waivers for the requirement. Additionally it's very subjective and I know there are people who "pass" the test but really don't meet the requirement.

Alternatively you could have been born here (birthright citizenship) and failed to assimilate or embrace the native language of your native born country, but who would be that big of a jerk, right?

Bottom line (IMHO) all of this does point to assisting an extremely small percentage of the population to vote or assist people that can't legally vote but do. Is the juice worth the squeeze?


In the early 1900's my grandmother learned enough English to pass the citizenship test. She lived in the US and worked everyday. Saved her money as a seamstress and bought properties. She made her own retirement plan with the rental properties she owned. She managed to become a financially independent woman knowing just enough English to get by. A widower she raised my father who fought WWII in the Battle of the Bulge. I find it petty and offensive when people get on their high horse and complain about people who aren't fluent in English. So what? Why should that prevent them from voting?

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