Contra Costa County voters will see an additional language on their voting materials starting this year, as the Contra Costa Elections Division adds Chinese to the current English and Spanish. This means that the official ballot and Voter Information Guide will appear in all three languages.
Voters in the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and the Diablo Community Services District have a special vote-by-mail election on March 6 and will be the first to see the trilingual materials when they receive their ballots in the mail next week. incorporation of Chinese will appear on all voting materials beginning in June.
Written material will be in traditional Chinese and the Elections Division will provide audio language assistance in Cantonese and Mandarin.
The addition of Chinese comes as a result of the county’s population growth and corresponding shift in demographics. As the population changes, so do the language needs of local voters. When 10,000 voters or 5 percent of the county’s voting age citizens speak a specific language, the Federal Voting Rights Act requires that language be included on all election materials. At the end of 2016, the Department of Justice informed us that we crossed that threshold for Chinese.
“We look forward to meeting the needs of all of our voters,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters.
The Contra Costa Elections Division continues to engage with local community groups to ensure language access for all voters. For more information, visit our website at www.cocovote.us.