Last Thursday Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo voted to not renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act, because there were provisions in the act that would implement bilingual ballots in certain areas.
Today, Tancredo’s Democratic opponent, Bill Winter, responded in an e-mail interview about the vote, and what provisions should be allowed. Q: What do you think about Tancredo’s vote to not renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act?
There are 435 members of the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Tancredo was one of only four to vote against the Violence Against Women Act. He was one of only eleven to vote against aid to Katrina Victims. He was one of only 34 to vote against the President’s Foreign Aid package. And now he is one of only 33 to vote against the Voting Rights Act.
Mr. Tancredo is very clearly out of touch with America and with the people of this District. I do not believe that the people of CD6 are against protecting women from violence and against equal rights in voting and against helping their fellow Americans. Therefore, Mr. Tancredo’s voting record is very clearly ridiculous.
Q: Do you think there is a need for bilingual ballots in our electoral system? If so, why?
That being said, however, if someone is a U.S. citizen and has difficulty with english, then we should find ways to ensure that they understand their ballot. There were those in earlier eras who insisted that only those who could read should be allowed to vote. Such standards were almost always a way to keep the vote from certain minorities that were to have their voting rights wrongfully limited.
I believe that is the basis for Mr. Tancredo’s objection. I believe that he wants to limit the rights of hispanic Americans to vote. I believe that is wrong.
There are any number of reasons why someone might have difficulty READING english–note that the objection was to a rule designed to help those with trouble reading english, not speaking it. I would not deprive anyone of their legal right to vote because they cannot read english proficiently.
Winter also stated that he would support a amendment making it a constitutional right to vote.