language of Iowa law (Code Sec. 1.18, the "Iowa English language reaffirmation"
section) permits the Secretary of State to provide ballot request forms
or other documents in languages in addition to English.
The law states that "Nothing in this section shall be construed to . . . prohibit . . . an officer
of state government . . . from communicating . . . in a language other than English, if that member
or officer deems it necessary or desirable to do so." (Iowa Code sec. 1.18(5)(a).) We understand
the Secretary of State deemed it necessary or desirable to provide voter materials in languages in
addition to English. For example, the use of other languages can facilitate citizens exercising the
Constitutional right to vote.
Furthermore, the bipartisan
Voter Registration Commission rules that took effect in 1995 are consistent
with the Secretary of State's decision to include materials in various
languages. Their rules state that "any county commissioner may cause production
of any approved voter registration form in a language other than English
if the commissioner determines that such a form would be of value . .
For all these reasons, we believe the Secretary of State has full authority to provide voter
forms in languages in addition to English.
[End of statement.]
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