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City Plans Election Outreach in 10 Languages [Video]

The Los Angeles City Clerk's office launches its "L.A. City Votes!" initiative, expanding its voter outreach efforts.

With spring municipal elections approaching, the Los Angeles City Clerk's Office launched an initiative Thursday to reach out to voters in the county's nine most commonly spoken languages in addition to English.

A slice of the city's almost $500,000 election outreach budget will be dedicated to "L.A. City Votes!" a campaign to educate and support voters with translation and other language services in the March 5 and May 21 municipal elections.

Support will be provided in Hindi, Thai, Armenian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Outreach materials will be printed in all of those languages, costing the city about $14,000 of the $492,434 budgeted for election outreach, according to Jacob Wexler, chief of elections for the city clerk's office. That amount does not include the costs of official election documents, such as sample ballots, polling place signs and other voter materials that are already translated into multiple languages.

The rest of the city's election outreach budget "pays for staff and expenses related to translation services, our efforts to recruit bilingual students to work at polling locations ... and other outreach activities," Wexler wrote in an email to Patch.

Common Cause California is one of 20 organizations the city has partnered with in its outreach efforts. During the November general election, the organization reported a lack of language support for many voters in Los Angeles County, said Common Cause California's Carr Tekosky.

  • Related: Patch recently reported on a similar issue where Asian language voters in L.A. County received insufficient help at polling places.

"The goal of trying to get more languages for people to access their ability to vote is something that we find is really important to getting a greater number of people voting in general," Tekosky said.

Involving and educating voters, regardless of language, is an imperative, said City Clerk June Lagmay. 

"We feel we must do outreach in all of these communities because L.A. is a city of different communities," Lagmay said. "It's not just ethnicities but it's gender, it's age, it's socio-economic—we want to make sure that everybody feels included and nobody feels excluded, whether they are proficient in English or not. … Voting is a primal, precious right."

This is a particularly exciting time for Los Angeles, Lagmay said, because there are races for mayor, city attorney, city controller and half of the city council seats.

"This is potentially a very large influx of new leadership and this is a prime opportunity for people … to ask the questions they want to ask, study the issues, study the ballot measures and make a very reasoned decision because this is what the future of the city is going to look like starting July 1, 2013," Lagmay said.

In addition, some $682,040 is being allocated to the hiring of city employees to work at polling places during the elections.

The City Employee Pollworker Program is about halfway to its goal of hiring 600 employees to work the polls, said Sara Gonzalez, project coordinator for the program.   

"We found that the presence of a city employee at a polling place helps to ensure that those polls A, open on time, and B, follow the election code throughout the day, making sure that every voter that comes through has the opportunity to exercise their right to vote," said Gonzalez.

Reminder: If you want to vote in the March 5, 2013 primary election, the deadline to register to vote is Feb. 19. For more information, visit the city clerk's office Web site.

Other organizations partnering with the "L.A. City Votes!" initiative include:

    •    Armenian National Committee Western Region
    •    Asian Pacific American Legal Center
    •    California Participation Project
    •    Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment
    •    Central American Resource Center
    •    Chinatown Service Center
    •    Filipino American Community of L.A.
    •    Filipino American Service Group
    •    Korean American Coalition
    •    Korean Resource Center
    •    League of Women Voters
    •    Little Tokyo Service Center
    •    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
    •    National Association of Latino Elected Leaders
    •    Pacific American Volunteer Association
    •    Rock the Vote
    •    South Asian Network
    •    Southwest Voter Registration and  Education Project
    •    Thai Community Development Center

Marcus November 19, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Everyone!!! Perhaps Bernie Friend is just another 'blog troll'? Stirring it up, as they do.
Stephanie November 20, 2012 at 06:53 AM
Well how ridiculous of Bernie to want people who are voting to learn to speak English. I mean really! Reading those complicated propositions on the ballot are hard enough to understand in English, much less any other language. So it's ok for them to vote for people and policies that they don't understand? @Marcus, how can a person stand by the flag, believe in our values and defend them if they don't speak the universal language of this country? @Jock, sorry but the people who are washing your car and mowing your lawn most likely are not and have no desire to become citizens. You pay them and that money goes back to their native country, People who came here late in life, you mean people here illegally, right? Bernie may not have the most eloquent way of expressing himself. But I don't want people who can't speak English shaping policy for this state or the country. I find it offensive the "we're here, deal with it" attitude that many (not all) immigrants have. I am tired of pressing 1 for English.
Mel Worthington November 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM
You, stupid bleeding heart liberals. You people are insane. People who want to live in this country need to learn how to speak english. Immigrants who want to vote must be held accountable. How many more wasted tax dollars are going to be spent. How much more do you want to tax the middle class. Next thing you know, we will be pressing "21" for ebonics.
David Lyttle November 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Here we go with the "you people" .............. Everybody who lives in this country is of immigrant stock save those who were born on the lands of sovereign nations within the boundaries of what we refer to as the United States of America,. Just take a drive through Pine Ridge or Rosebud and ask the people who live there, “who are the immigrants?”.
nonoise November 20, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Maybe legal citizens could get some attention and an education in public schools if it were not filled with illegal aliens.
El Cid November 20, 2012 at 03:56 PM
What about the exploitation of the "illegal aliens?" What are their rights? When was the last time you drove through or visited the San Joaquin and Central Valley farming community? Better yet, when was the last time you visited someone in Bel Air or Beverly Hills? Have you checked out who cleans their nice, little homes? Ooops, how about throughout this entire Golden State? Who employs gardeners, dishwashers, and day laborers etc...? The crime begins with the exploitation!
Nimby pimp November 20, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Do you really believe that poor immigrants are to blame for the problems of America's education system? Instead of polluting the Internet with your ignorance, perhaps you might subscribe to a magazine or read an occassional book.
The MOG November 20, 2012 at 04:14 PM
It's also offensive to suggest that the American Work Ethic is dead in this country, that Americans hire foriegners to do their dirty work. The Japanese said the exact things about us during WW2. It wasn't true then, it aint so now. As far as laziness goes, human foibles are are common among all peoples. I sympathize with Bernard's frustration, at the economic insanity of trying to publish a phone book sized voter's pamplet at every election, but that cat's been let out of the bag decades ago. Unfortunately, they are here, and we must deal with it. In these days of technical advance, a simple web page could perform the job of what once required a whole governmental department to accomplished. It's time to get creative. I think that anyone familar with my stand on Illegal Aliens know that I take a hard line approach. Illegals are not all innocent, and natural born citizens are not all righteous. This policy however is to facilitate legal voters, who because of language skills,etc.,need help understanding the ballot. We can not let our personal predjudices and biases take us back to Jim Crow. The cost of printing these foriegn language ballots is very low, percentage wise. We can always find ways to do the job smarter, and cheaper. btw, I think Bernard's problem is Spell Check. I hardly use it, myself, so...
nonoise November 20, 2012 at 04:15 PM
People can only be exploited if they are allow others to do that. The illegals took away jobs that legal black people that used to do. Are you complaining that those people have work? If those rich people (black, white, hispanic, and all races) take advantage of people they should be arrested if they break any law. Who employs those low paid workers? That is a silly question. Rich people of all races employ them. And, they are lucky to have jobs. That is why they come here isn't it? There is no difference between those low paying jobs and the ones at McDonald's or WalMart. Blame the rich all colors and races. You complain about low paying jobs. It is better to have a job then have none. Illegal aliens have taken away the jobs that poor blacks and whites used to do and were happy to have a job and not complain about it.
Jock November 20, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Could it be that your world is changing ? Could it be that all these rumbling noises you hear from the sky are planes carrying thousands and thousands of people back and forth around the world in hours ? This world of 7 Billion. I think the way to fix your problem Stephanie and Bernie, is to get into Dr. Times way back machine. There, the Cleavers and Ozzie and Harriet are waiting for you. This year estimates on both sides come up with the surprising statistic 20% LESS money was sent to Mexico by people in the US. Less Migration as well South to North. Unless we become the Retards of the 21st century and/or the 4th Reich (which might brighten some of your faces) or suffer a global nuclear holocaust, this is the way it's gonna be folks. Kick and scream all you want. you will see more people of Asian heritage, more Brown peoples of all types speaking all types of languages and making all kinds of GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS to your country. Perhaps you should take up another language yourselves ? I think Mel could use some Ebonics for sure !
nonoise November 20, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Nimby, LAUSD does not teach kids to read books. What are you talking about? Personal experience is more education than reading a book. Illegal alien students now take up all the seats in the classroom, get all the attention and put legal citizens and residents as second class citizens. If you haven't been to a public school lately take a trip and spend a day. Then you can see why LAUSD has a 50% drop out rate. When parents start to see that their "legal" kids are being treated as second class, only then will parents will wake up to see what is happening. And, then most will take their kids out of public school and put then in private school. Alll, except those that can not afford a private school or they allow their kids to drop out. And, I don't blame them a bit if they do.
The MOG November 20, 2012 at 04:36 PM
La Casa, Cesar Chavez never knowingly allowed illegal labor in American Farm Fields, La Raza does. La Raza facilitates exploitation of these illegals, because it advances the Anti-American Agenda people like you, and the Marxist Writers you rever seek to establish,i.e. Reconquesta. Any honest person should be able to admit that this City's Sanctuary Policies have been a disaster, ESPECIALLY for the poor. Too bad, you can't do anything about correcting that problem, now. Not only have the doors been flung wide open, they've been completely removed from their hindges. However, we're not talking about Illegals, we're refering to Immingrants, here. People who come legally. Immigrants have it damn good here, we do a lot for them. Some could ligitimately argue Government does more for them, then it does natural born Americans. We have to be practical about it.
Jared Morgan November 20, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Mel, take it easy with the name calling. You can intelligently argue both sides of this issue without resorting to that and violating Patch terms of service. Thanks!
Nimby pimp November 20, 2012 at 05:05 PM
For all of your protestations about racism, you freely malign and scapegoat certain ethnically defined groups. More interestingly, your surname is "Rocha." Were your people on the Mayflower, madam?
The MOG November 20, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Why wouldn't a Rocha be on the MayFlower? Rocha is Spanish,i.e. European. Didn't the MayFlower sail from Europe. So, it is possible for a Rocha to have been on the MayFlower. I know there wasn't, but there could have been. Why? Did you think Spanish people come from Mexico? nonoise has never "maligned", or "scapegoated" ANY "ethinically defined group". She merely states the facts about the 300lb Elephant In The Room no one will acknowledge...More interestingly, it appears your surname is pimp. Is that why you spend your time pandering?
Nimby pimp November 20, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Uh oh. Here comes the other Phi Beta Kappa. So the Mayflower was from Spain, eh? I propose that the Internet charge by the word - this might protect a better class of folk from the endless inanities from the broke and ignorant.
The MOG November 20, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Broke & Ignorant? Don't be so hard on yourself. I commented that The MayFlower was from Europe, not Spain... You don't need to be a genius in order to present an honest, fair critique of L.A.'s Santuary City Policies. All you need is a healthy dose of common sense.
The MOG November 20, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Mr. Lyttle, I disagree with your statement, "Everybody who lives in this country is of immigrant stock..." My parents were born in L.A. 3 of my grandparents were born in Texas. They might have been of immigrant stock. The colonists whom founded our country had been here for over a century. They could hardly be considered immigrants, they were by that time, Americans. Abraham Lincoln and his contempories, would not have called this a country of immigrants... He would have considered himself one of The Sons Of The Pioneers, established for generations. Using your logic, Native Americans are of "immigrant stock", because their ancestors came from Asia. Just because my ancesters came from Mexico, France, & Spain, doesn't make me Spanish, French, or Mexican. My ethnicity, Mestizo does not modify my citizenship, American, in the least. Sir, I've lived side by side with the Native Americans of the SW. I didn't just drive through. I assure you, they do NOT call ANYONE an Illegal Alien. That's not their mind set. It was very hard explaining to them why they couldn't find a job, even sweeping floors. I use to have a friend, Margaret, who lived in the Shelter in PHX. Her & her brother lived with elderly parents in New Jersey, until Mom & Dad died. Then, bro. & sis were on the streets. She would seek employment cleaning motels. In the afternoons she would cry on my shoulder, after being turned down, because Spanish Speakers were Prefered! That's not right. Now, what say you?
Nimby pimp November 20, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Wait. Europe is not in Spain? Or is it? Where was the Mayflower from again? Common sense indeed.
The MOG November 20, 2012 at 06:46 PM
LOL Happy to help ya out, Nimby... Spain is a country in Europe. The Mayflower sailed from England, another country in Europe. My 12 year old niece is pretty good in geography, she might be willing to give you a tutorial. Clear up some of your confusion. ;-}'
bbkong November 20, 2012 at 07:36 PM
The derp in this thread is overwhelming. Face it folks, if you aren't a Native American Indian you're an immigrant, get over it. Having voter materials in all the many dialects spoken in LA is a good thing. It increases voter participation and makes our system of government more accessible to everyone. How can that be a bad thing? When will we ever get over the fear of people who are "different" or enjoy different lifestyles?
nonoise November 21, 2012 at 06:09 AM
No one is afraid of different lifestyles. One language unites and brings people together. Having different languages divides and separates. That is why one common language is needed.
Stephanie November 21, 2012 at 06:24 AM
@The MOG and @ Jock, never did I say cultural contributions weren't important. Never did I say the American work ethic was dead. We all have contributions from our heritages that make us and this country truly unique. Voting is a right, but it is also a privilege. Very interesting and informative responses, but have nothing to do with my point. You associate me with the 4th Reich and the holocaust? For shame and uncalled for. I want people with voting power to understand what they are voting for, how is that wrong? Are they giving up their culture and native languages? No! Why should you be a citizen here if you refuse or won't learn our most basic form of communication? Wouldn't you WANT to learn that? BTW: When I lived in Okinawa, I learned Japanese. Why? Because I wanted to understand the people I was living with, and I wanted them to understand me. Once again, I am tired of pressing 1 for English. And Jock, I have no "problem" with anything. It's my opinion, you are the one having a problem with it.
bbkong November 21, 2012 at 06:38 AM
You're right. We should all be speaking Esperanto. Better yet, mathematics. That's the one language everybody speaks. Now that it's settled, we should make daylight savings time universal so we all go to bed and get up at the same time. And all clothes should be the same color. And all salads should consist of lettuce and tomato with Italian dressing. Sure you want to go down this road?
David Lyttle November 21, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Music is the universal language of mankind.
The MOG November 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM
You're right nonoise. The alternative is Babel...
nonoise November 21, 2012 at 04:57 PM
bb, we are are different and we respect that. But there MUST be somethings that unite us and that is we areall americans and language.
Draimanformayor Losangeles December 03, 2012 at 06:59 PM
It is voter apathy that prevents people from voting – YJ Draiman It is known that many people distrusts politicians and the “system”, and many people believe that their vote is worthless in the end. This leads to high levels of “voter apathy”, especially in municipal and state elections. We need to educate the people that their votes do count, that each vote helps them to exercise their constitutional right in a Democratic country. I know many voters claim that the elections are controlled by special interests groups and the money people. I feel very strongly that if the masses of people would rise up and vote, we could overcome the special interests groups and the money people. After all the peoples numbers are much greater than the special interests groups and the money people. It is a government by the people for the people. I plead with all voters please exercise your right and vote. Thank you YJ Draiman
Robert D. Skeels December 03, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I am very happy that the City is making this type of outreach to our under-served communities. It's long past due. I'm also saddened to read many of the nativist, bigoted, and frankly racist comments above regarding the City's efforts to engage all the voters in the upcoming primary election. I too qualified last week for the March election. However, I'm running for School Board as opposed to Mayor. http://www.robertdskeelsforschoolboard.org/robert_d_skeels_qualifies_to_be_on_the_march_ballot I for one am proud that my name will appear on the ballot in multiple languages and I celebrate the diverse, multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural city we live in.
Draimanformayor Losangeles December 04, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Los Angeles Election Commission certifies Yehuda YJ Draiman as a Mayoral Candidate in the March 5, 2013 Elections. News Bulletin - Draiman News Agency - Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 Yehuda YJ Draiman is certified as LA mayoral candidate to be on the ballot in Los Angeles elections which will be held on March 5 2013 A recent ambitious goal by YJ Draiman is to create in Los Angeles an innovative renewable energy zone approach which will create tens of thousands of new jobs with billions in investments over the next 5-10 years. http://yjdraiman.org

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