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home : opinion : opinion May 26, 2016


11/29/2012 6:00:00 AM
Reader Letter: Why are there non-English ballots?

After watching the Today show last week, where approximately 30 people became U.S. citizen, it struck me that the oath said that these individuals could speak, read and write in English.

Why then is it that our ballots are printed in various languages?

Judith Green

Golden Valley


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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ Nice Chuckle
Ok...I'll grant you the Congress/House thing. Though it seems like they should really be called "Representative" doesn't it? Thats actually what the House website refers to them as.

@Amaryllis Smith
Agreed on the makeup of Congress....but I highly doubt anyone ever calls a Senator a Congressman or woman or vice versa. Though as members of Congress....they could indeed be called that. Must be a vanity thing with them?


Posted: Sunday, December 9, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephews

“…. and the members of both house and senate are both referred to as congressmen/congresswomen.”


GOOD GRIEF - uhh, no! Congressmen/Congresswomen are members of the House of Representatives. Members of the Senate are called – wait for it – SENATORS! You really need to do some research before posting here.


Posted: Sunday, December 9, 2012
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

Good Grief------The house and Senate is together Congress and the members of both house and senate are both referred to as congressmen/congresswomen.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle

@Stokes

"Ahem....I know you misspoke when you said "The bill was passed by Congress, NOT the Senate,"

Uhhh..the Senate is just one part of Congress.

I think you meant "passed by the House, NOT the Senate" Although that's not correct either...it hasn't passed anywhere."

Thanks for pointing that out, I never even noticed I typed passed. I was meaning to type introduced.

I did, however, mean Congress, which is often used as a colloquialism for the House. And a member of the House of Reps is often referred to as a Congressman.


Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Evidence

“There was action taken on this bill in Sept.2012 and passed!”

I can find no evidence on any government website of HR997 (BTW “HI” indicates House Initiated) having passed so please, but by all means provide the proof that it passed the House, the Senate and was signed into law by the President. You see that is what is meant by a “bill passing.”

We, as a nation, have no “official” language – it’s as simple as that.


Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

Well, Anson's Nephew- HR997IH does in fact exist-where are you looking for it?? IH is an amendment added to the original. At least V Stokes is better up on it than you! There was action taken on this bill in Sept.2012 and passed! Don't know what else to tell you except that if I stumble upon it again will let you know.
And yes TJ, we are Suppose to be a free country and I never said anything about religion in my first response but, since you did I'll respond to that as well. While we have been free to practice our beliefs in our way--would you /do you think muslim islam believers should be able to come here and practice their beliefs even to the point of honor killings in the guise of religion??
Freedoms and previlages all come or should with limits and do-but there are those who insist on pushing those limits and that becomes intolerable!!!


Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

@Nice Chuckle
Ahem....I know you misspoke when you said "The bill was passed by Congress, NOT the Senate,"

Uhhh..the Senate is just one part of Congress.

I think you meant "passed by the House, NOT the Senate" Although that's not correct either...it hasn't passed anywhere.


Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ Amaryllis Smith
Well....according to the Library of Congress that bill has been floating around since early 2011 and is still being heard by subcommittees. A related Senate bill has basically been dead since Mar 2011.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR00997:

It will probably get a few revisions and a few more hearings...then quietly go in a closet and die.

Sorry....there is no Official National language, though I am sure that there are rules that the Official business of the US is conducted in English. The Navy had such rules years ago as I'm sure many places did. Official business and communications in English only. You could speak whatever you wanted in casual conversation. That did not make English the Navys "official language".

English is the "de facto" national language....but there is no law stating such.


Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Find it under HR997IH”

No such bill listed. The actual bill proposed LAST year is HR997.

“… english was passed by congress as official language.. This bill serves for commerce, federal business etc.. All of you can do your own research. This bill also preserves english as the common language of this nation!”

Uhh, no it was not passed. Here is the actual record -

3/10/2011:
Referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

3/10/2011:
Referred to House Education and the Workforce

3/10/2011:
Referred to House Judiciary

3/21/2011:
Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution.

8/2/2012:
Subcommittee Hearings Held.

The bill remains stalled in subcommittee.


Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle

@amaryllis

"BUT, know you won,t like this--english was passed by congress as official language. Find it under HR997IH. This bill serves for commerce, federal business etc.. All of you can do your own research. This bill also preserves english as the common language of this nation!"

Perhaps you should do your research. The bill was passed by Congress, NOT the Senate, and has NOT been signed into law. Hence, you guessed it, English is still NOT the official anything of the US.


Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

Thank you V Stokes

Actually there are rules of law that don't apply to having a general comprehension of english to become a naturalized citizen. BUT, know you won,t like this--english was passed by congress as official language. Find it under HR997IH. This bill serves for commerce, federal business etc.. All of you can do your own research. This bill also preserves english as the common language of this nation!


Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: thoughts .....

If a person must have voting materiels in Tagalog or Slovak, they probably have not understood the commentary/information available prior to the election which should inform their vote.

Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@Doing Research

"your trusted Fox News quietly tells you one thing and practices another"

Wow. Two links, neither of which is to anything showing what they "quietly tell you".

How about a FOX News link to prove your claim. And remember, you said FOX News, so limit it to that. Their commentators are not news reporters. That means O'Reilly, Hannity, Van Sustern. Theirs are opinion shows, not "news" programs.

Hope you don't mind if, without that, i regard that observation of yours as just meaningless?

LOL


Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

Amaryllis Smith is partially correct...You must be able to read, write, and speak English to be a naturalized citizen...but you don't have to be extremely fluent.

Others are also correct that we have no national language. It is NOT a requirement to be a citizen in other circumstances.....though I feel it should be. A child of a naturalized citizen, who speaks only the parents native language at home is often at a disadvantage later in life. The parents are to blame, not the child.

There are plenty of "natural born" Americans that would have trouble understanding certain forms or questionnaires encountered in daily life.....that's why assistance or interpreters have been provided by law over the years.

Anyone even been to Louisiana?


Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“And ENGLISH is the language of this country!!”

Would you please provide the law that mandates that? Go, ahead.


Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: Tj Denton

A. Smith, that is just to become naturalized. Why dont you go look and see what the legal, official language is in the united states and get back to me on that one. Haha. Please do your homework on this one.

Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: Matter of Economics

If you want the produce, goods, and services that I have to sell, you better speak English.

If you want us to purchase your produce, goods, and services that you have to sell, you better speak and advertise in our language.

Probably the language will eventually become a mix of the two (and more) languages (as history has already proven out) because we all need each other.


Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: Fred Smith

It even gets better when you go to get a job and you get paid more if you speak a second language, go figure. I agree if you live here, at least learn to speak the language. That's just my opinion, never said anyone had to agree or argue about it either!

Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Article comment by: mikel weisser

While i personally prefer to do my business in English, and understand that records need to be kept in a standard language, standard format, etc. However that is for keeping gov't business. I feel for the citizen there is no language requirement to be an American. Our country has been made from a rich assortment of cultures, not a blanched out mixture. The book says, "freedom of speech," not "freedom of English."

Funny thing: the same folks that condemn others for not speaking the language of their fellow Americans, generally only speak one language themselves, and often poorly, lol.


Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

@ Nice Chuckle&tj

You are both wrong. English is required to be a U.S. citizen and Judith Green has an absolute rightfully ask question! Look up your laws!! Only U.S. citizens are (supposedly ) the only ones who can vote so why are ballots printed in other languages? And ENGLISH is the language of this country!!


Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Article comment by: Tj Denton

A. Smith, thats like saying that because the majority of people in this nation consider themselves christians, that after a few generations there is no reason for an immigrant to not be a christian. There is no established language in this country, just like there is no established religion. This is a free country, theres no reason for anyone to conform to what you think is right, when they are legal, tax paying citizens of a free nation.

Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle

@Amaryllis

"The point I was making is the fact that after two or more generations have been in the U.S.A. there is no excuse for anyone living here permanently not to speak english"

Sorry, TJ's point is still spot on. There is for sure a great reason, they are not required to do so. Easy, simple, to the point.


Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

@ TJ

I never said people here coudn't speak anything other than english!! English is the prominent language of the U.S.A. and the third most widely used language in the world!! Look up the history of the english language for yourself. The point I was making is the fact that after two or more generations have been in the U.S.A. there is no excuse for anyone living here permanently not to speak english!!! I could have played dumb and not bonded out the man I referred to but, why would anyone be so cruel as to do that if not necessary??

@anson nephew
It is perfectly okay to use the term Mexican when people are from Mexico. There are varying forms of spanish-I learned Castillian spanish!


Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

The right wing reminds me of the old fairy tale of the boy who cried wolf, so much till no one believed him anymore! They have been predicting gloom and doom for decades, swearing our conversion to communism is just around the corner! From 2000-2008 they swore the tax cuts to the rich would bring mana from heaven and jobs would flow like lava from a volcano! Seems like they been crying wolf over and over and no one is listening anymore!

Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle

@T J

Not very often I agree with you, but you were spot on there. Very well said.



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