Alaska elections officials are struggling to put methods in place to translate the state’s election ballot into an array of diverse Alaska Native languages. The effort to respond to a couple of court settlements has already resulted in materials in seven different Yup’ik dialects and some Athabascan Gwich’in languages. The state, expanding its effort beyond the court order, now includes a couple of Inupiaq languages. The effort is the subject of a conference that is going on this week at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. The law requires written ballot materials in minority languages, but one of the big issues is that many Alaska Native speakers never learned to read their Native language.
The state also has put in place a system for audio ballots.
Indra Arriaga works for the Division of Elections and is heading up the language effort.
“It’s that machine you see over there with headphones, and it has a paper attachment to it,” Arriaga said. “You hear. The ballot is read to you ,and it is loaded with Alaska Native language. And then you pick, and it prints out your paper ballot so you have confirmation of what you voted.”
Full Article: State elections division holds Alaska Native language summit.