Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Multilingual Ballots

José Enrique Idler:

Linguistic minorities are presumed to prefer voting in the language that they speak. Puzzlingly enough though, when immigrants become citizens, almost all of them have to learn English. And for good reason: political and civic participation happens in English. Even those cases in which someone finds it necessary to vote in a language other than English — which is indeed sometimes necessary — shouldn't mislead us into thinking that widespread multilingual voting is beneficial. People may be able to vote without being fluent in English, but their democratic participation is limited. Only by learning the language can they, and future generations, become full participants in the system.


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