Election edict tests Fairfax

Federal law requires help in Spanish for Hispanic voters

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Many Democrats have argued that the law, similar to but less stringent than those in other states, could suppress turnout among people less likely to have readily-available identification, including the poor and the elderly.

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee recently launched a multilingual campaign that includes online videos and brochures in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese and English, as well as brochures in Chinese and Arabic to make the public aware of the state’s new identification requirements.

“Our goal here in the county is no provisional ballots on Election Day,” Mr. del Aguila said. “The bell curve of the people we are targeting are not aware of any requirements. Specifically, we’re targeting the more diverse segment of the county.”

Mr. del Aguila, whose family has ties to Peru, counted his parents among the people who stand to benefit from the federal mandate.

“A lot of my family, they’re American, but they’re just more comfortable reading Spanish,” he said. “It’s not that they’re lazy or not proud Americans. They’re just at an age where it’s more difficult to learn a new language.”

The State Board of Elections also has retooled its website to provide voters with information on the new state law and has launched an outreach campaign that includes television, print, radio, billboards, bus shelters and bus ads.

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