Language requirements for election materials are governed under the federal Voting Rights Act and the state Elections Code.

Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act requires that in certain situations (counties where more than 10,000 or 5% of all total voting-age citizens who are members of a single language minority group, have depressed literacy rates, and do not speak English very well) election materials that are available in English must also be made available in the language of particular minority group.  Section 203 targets those language minorities that have suffered a history of exclusion from the political process:  Spanish-heritage, Asian, Native American, and Alaskan Native.

The U.S. Census Bureau identifies the specific language groups for states and county jurisdictions, based on census information, every 5 years. The latest Section 203 determination was December 5, 2016.  The next determination is expected in December 2021.

For more information on Section 203, please visit the Department of Justice’s website: https://www.justice.gov/crt/about-language-minority-voting-rights.

California Elections Code section 14201 further requires that county elections officials provide a translated facsimile ballot and related instructions in a conspicuous location in precincts where 3% or more of the voting-age residents are members of a single language minority and lack sufficient skills in English to vote without assistance.  The Secretary of State is required to make these Section 14201 determinations by January 1 of each year in which the governor is elected. 

For more information on Section 14201: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=ELEC&sectionNum=14201.

The chart below identifies the language requirements for each county under Section 203 of the federal Voting Rights Act and Elections Code section 14201.  Please note that this chart is based upon 2016 precinct information and data, as previously provided by the California Statewide Database at U.C. Berkeley.  The requirements provided in the chart will remain in place through December 31, 2021.  The next determinations will be issued by January 1, 2022.  

For additional translation resources, please see our website at:  https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/voting-california.

Ballot Translations and Posting Requirements Summary by County Based on 2016 General Election Precincts Effective: May 21, 2020
KEY
 
  • Asterisked (*) language minority groups (Chinese and Filipino) include languages within that language group.
  • BOLD languages under column, "14201 Covered Languages," are new requirements as of May 21, 2020.
County Section 203 (Federal) 14201
Alameda Chinese
Hispanic
Filipino
Vietnamese
Korean
Cambodian/Khmer
Panjabi
Burmese
Hindi
Laotion
Mien
Mongolian
Telugu
Alpine   None
Amador   Spanish
Butte   Hmong
Spanish
Calaveras   Spanish
Colusa Hispanic None
Contra Costa Chinese
Hispanic
Korean
Filipino
Vietnamese
Hindi
Laotian
Nepali
Panjabi
Tamil
Telugu
Del Norte American Indian Spanish
El Dorado   Chinese
Spanish
Fresno Hispanic Chinese
Hmong
Korean
Cambodian/Khmer
Panjabi
Filipino
Vietnamese
Laotian
Glenn Hispanic None
Humboldt   Spanish
Hmong
Imperial Hispanic None
Inyo   Spanish
Kern Hispanic Filipino
Panjabi
Kings Hispanic Filipino
Lake   Spanish
Lassen   Spanish
Los Angeles Cambodian
Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Korean
Hispanic
Filipino*
Vietnamese
Armenian
Persian
Bengali
Burmese
Gujarati
Hindi
Indonesian
Japanese
Mongolian
Telugu
Thai
Madera Hispanic Panjabi
Marin   Spanish
Vietnamese
Mariposa   Spanish
Filipino
Mendocino   Spanish
Merced Hispanic Chinese
Hmong
Panjabi
Mien
Modoc   Spanish
Mono   Spanish
Monterey Hispanic Korean
Filipino
Vietnamese
Napa   Spanish
Filipino
Nevada   Spanish
Orange Chinese
Korean
Hispanic
Vietnamese
Filipino
Persian
Gujarati
Hindi
Japanese
Placer   Korean
Spanish
Filipino
Panjabi
Plumas   Spanish
Riverside Hispanic Chinese
Korean
Filipino
Vietnamese
Sacramento Chinese
Hispanic
Hmong
Korean
Panjabi
Filipino
Vietnamese
Hindi
Japanese
Laotian
Mien
Telugu
Urdu
San Benito Hispanic None
San Bernardino Hispanic Chinese
Korean
Filipino
Vietnamese
Indonesian
Thai
San Diego American Indian
Chinese
Hispanic
Filipino
Vietnamese
Arabic
Korean
Japanese
Laotian
San Francisco Chinese
Hispanic
Korean
Filipino
Vietnamese
Burmese
Japanese
Thai
San Joaquin Hispanic Chinese
Cambodian/Khmer
Panjabi
Filipino
Vietnamese
Hindi
Hmong
Laotian
Urdu
San Luis Obispo   Spanish
Filipino
San Mateo Chinese
Hispanic
Korean
Filipino
Burmese
Hindi
Japanese
Santa Barbara Hispanic Chinese
Korean
Filipino
Santa Clara Chinese
Hispanic
Filipino
Vietnamese
Korean
Cambodian/Khmer
Gujarati
Hindi
Japanese
Nepali
Panjabi
Tamil
Telugu
Santa Cruz   Spanish
Shasta   Spanish
Sierra   Spanish
Siskiyou   Spanish
Solano   Spanish
Filipino
Sonoma   Spanish
Cambodian/Khmer
Filipino
Vietnamese
Stanislaus Hispanic Cambodian/Khmer
Panjabi
Syriac
Sutter   Spanish
Panjabi
Filipino
Tehama   Spanish
Trinity   None
Tulare Hispanic Filipino
Burmese
Laotian
Tuolumne   Spanish
Ventura Hispanic Chinese
Filipino
Vietnamese
Gujarati
Yolo   Spanish
Chinese
Korean
Panjabi
Yuba   Hmong
Spanish

Past Determinations

  • CCROV #20096 Additional Languages Required under California Elections Code section 14201, Language Minority Determinations
  • CCROV #17148 Language Requirements: 14201, Language Minority Determinations
  • CCROV #16333 Language Requirements: Voting Rights Act, Section 203 Language Minority Determinations