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 8, 2021.  The next determination is expected in December 2026.

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 2020 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, 2025.  The next determinations will be issued by January 1, 2026.  

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: January 1, 2022
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 January 1, 2020.
County Section 203 (Federal) 14201
Alameda Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Hispanic
Filipino
Vietnamese
None
Alpine   None
Amador   None
Butte   Spanish
 
Calaveras   None
Colusa Hispanic None
Contra Costa Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Hispanic
None
Del Norte   None
El Dorado   None
Fresno Hispanic None
Glenn Hispanic None
Humboldt   None
Imperial Hispanic None
Inyo   None
Kern Hispanic None
Kings Hispanic None
Lake   None
Lassen   Spanish
Los Angeles Cambodian
Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Korean
Hispanic
Filipino*
Vietnamese

Armenian
Farsi

Japanese

Khmer

Russian

Thai

Madera Hispanic None
Marin  

Chinese

Spanish
Vietnamese

Mariposa   None
Mendocino   Spanish
Merced Hispanic None
Modoc   None
Mono   Spanish
Monterey Hispanic Korean
Napa Hispanic None
Nevada   Spanish
Orange Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Korean
Hispanic
Vietnamese
Japanese
Placer   Spanish
Plumas   Spanish
Riverside Hispanic Chinese
Sacramento

Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Hispanic

Vietnamese

None
San Benito Hispanic None
San Bernardino Hispanic Chinese
Korean
San Diego Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Hispanic
Filipino
Vietnamese
Korean
Japanese
San Francisco Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Hispanic
Vietnamese
San Joaquin Hispanic Chinese
Vietnamese
San Luis Obispo   Spanish
San Mateo

Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*

Filipino
Hispanic

None
Santa Barbara Hispanic Chinese
Santa Clara Chinese (includes Taiwanese)*
Hispanic
Filipino
Vietnamese
None
Santa Cruz   Spanish
Shasta   None
Sierra   None
Siskiyou   Spanish
Solano   Spanish
Sonoma Hispanic None
Stanislaus Hispanic None
Sutter   Spanish
 
Tehama   Spanish
Trinity   None
Tulare Hispanic None
Tuolumne   None
Ventura Hispanic None
Yolo   None
Yuba   Spanish

Past Determinations

  • CCROV #21221 Language Requirements: 14201, Language Minority Determinations
  • CCROV #21204 Language Requirements: Voting Rights Act, Section 203 Language Minority 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