Michigan Department of State provides resources for non-English speaking voters

OCTOBER 31, 2020

Voter information in multiple languages is available through MDOS webpage

Following the formation of the Michigan Language Access Task Force, the Michigan Department of State (MDOS) provides bilingual and English-limited voters with critical voting information through the MDOS Language Access webpage. The task force, comprised of more than 50 organizations and over 200 partners statewide, equipped the webpage with resources including voter registration applications, absentee ballot applications and toolkits translated into Arabic, Spanish, Bengali, Korean, Tagalog, Mandarin, Burmese, Hindi and Urdu. The Language Access page can be found at Michigan.gov/SOSLanguageAccess.

"Ensuring every voter in Michigan knows their rights and how to exercise them is critical to a health democracy," said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. "I'm grateful for the partners who have stepped up to make sure all citizens in every community have the resources and tools they need to cast their vote with confidence."

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As one of the first of its kind, the Michigan Language Access Task Force, formed by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in 2020, strives to push through accessibility barriers with proactive voter engagement. Outreach included statewide voter education events held entirely in multiple languages. Recordings of these events in Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Burmese, Filipino and Bengali can be found on the MDOS Facebook page.

MDOS specifically worked to recruit multilingual poll workers in partnership with external organizations and clerks across the state and direct those interested individuals to jurisdictions where their language skills were most needed or wanted. To ensure language accessibility on Election Day, the Michigan Language Access Task Force will promote hotlines to assist voters at the polls. They include:
Spanish: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682)
Arabic: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287)
APIA Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu or Vietnamese: 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683

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In further efforts to improve accessibility for limited English-speaking communities, the Language Access Task Force translated sample ballots into Arabic and Spanish as part of their Sample Ballot Translation Pilot Program. Partnering with local clerks, translated sample ballots will be posted in select communities at polling locations on Election Day. Sample ballots are also available on the Language Access webpage, identified by municipality and precinct number. For more information on the task force and its initiatives, please contact Bilal Hammoud at Hammoudb@michigan.gov.

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For media. questions, contact
Tracy Wimmer at 517-281-1876.

We welcome questions and comments at the Contact the Secretary of State page.

Customers may call the Department of State Information Center to
speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).stats

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