On August 24, 2023, the ACLU of Kansas joined Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation (AIRR), Cross-Border Network, El Centro, Equality Kansas, Latino Community Network, Loud Light, Mainstream Coalition, MORE2, and the Voter Network in signing a letter to Wyandotte County Election Commissioner Michael Abbott.
The letter requested a meeting to discuss the growing need for better language access and early voting for the community’s voters. The letter also clarified that the signatories understood that based on demographics, Wyandotte County is not currently obligated under federal law, specifically Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, to make election materials available in languages other than English. However, as the letter notes, this does not mean that the Wyandotte County Election Office cannot choose to take such action of its own accord, especially as the county is on-trend to become become a Section 203-covered jurisdiction by 2026.
Local jurisdictions are unquestionably given the authority to make election materials available in multiple languages. There is no law or policy prohibiting such action, and there is no case law to indicate that this is not a power retained by local election offices like Wyandotte County’s.