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September 6, 2012
Contact: Shannan Velayas
Nonpartisan Voter Resources
Offered to Japanese-Speaking Californians
SACRAMENTO - California Secretary of State Debra Bowen today reminded voters that state and federal election laws provide rights to eligible Californians who are fluent in languages other than English, and pointed to election resources in Japanese. Secretary Bowen also invited organizations to help link voters to nonpartisan election information.
"It's natural for people to feel more comfortable reading detailed election documents in the language in which they are most fluent," said Secretary Bowen, the state's chief elections officer. "From registering to vote to casting a ballot, my office offers voting assistance in several languages, including Japanese, so every eligible person will be equipped to vote this year."
Key Japanese-Language Resources for the November 6 General Election
- Voter Hotline: The Secretary of State offers a Japanese-language voter hotline at (800) 339-2865.
- Voting Rights: A Japanese-language Voter Bill of Rights poster is at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/outreach/multilingual/vbr/jp-voter-bill-rights.pdf.
- Voter Registration: In most cases, people must register to vote at least 15 days before an election. Once registered, a voter does not have to register again unless he or she changes names, permanent residence or political party preference. The deadline to register for the November 6 election is October 22. A Japanese-language voter registration form is at at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/outreach/multilingual/2010-nvra/nvra-update-japanese.pdf. People may register to vote in California if they are United States citizens; residents of California; at least 18 years old by Election Day; not in prison or county jail (serving a state prison sentence or a term of more than one year in jail for a defined "low-level" felony) or on parole, post-release community supervision or post-sentencing probation for a felony conviction; and not judged by a court to be mentally incompetent.
- Voting by Mail: Any registered voter may vote by mail instead of going to the polls. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the November election is October 30. A Japanese vote-by-mail application is at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/outreach/multilingual/vmb/jp-vmb.pdf.
- Voter Information Guide: The Secretary of State's official guide for the November 6 General Election is translated into Japanese. The guide will be mailed to voters who have indicated that language preference and will be available online prior to the election. To order free copies of the guide, call (800) 339-2865.
- Help Get the Word Out: Many organizations help reach Japanese-speaking voters and point them toward nonpartisan resources. Voter resources such as a website button, informational videos and articles available at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/voting-california/contact-information/ can be added to media websites.