Over the weekend, I wrote a piece about Boston being sued by the Justice Department for not doing enough to help voters with poor English skills to vote. In the comments, “BorgQueen” questioned how someone who can’t read English very well could qualify to vote.
A lot of people would call such a question hateful, divisive, discriminatory, xenophobic, bigoted, and a bunch of other things. But it got me thinking, and BorgQueen raised a hell of a point.
I’m going to spell out, very carefully, just what BorgQueen said in shorthand and ask you, the readers, to see if you can spot any flaws in it — because after a couple days, I can’t.
1) The right to vote is extended only to American citizens.
2) There are two and only two types of American citizens: “native” citizens, and “naturalized” citizens.
2a) For nearly every aspect of the law, there is no distinction between the two. The only one I can think of is that “naturalized” citizens can be stripped of their citizenship for certain criminal offenses.
3) “Native” citizens have their citizenship by virtue of having been born in the United States, or born of American citizens.
3a) The vast majority of people born in the United States grow up in the United States.
3b) Children growing up in the United States have to attend public schools until a certain age, and at those schools are taught things such as English and civics.
4a) Naturalized citizens, for the most part, become citizens after applying, being accepted, and passing a test on citizenship.
4b) The test is in English.
4c) The test focuses on American history and government.
By those simple points, it strikes me as almost impossible for someone to be an American citizen, yet not be at least rudimentally fluent in English. Either they learned it at home, in the schools, or in preparing for their citizenship exam.
(Yes, there are cases of children born abroad who grow up speaking the language of that land and then finally come to America as adults, but those are few and far between.)
So, why the HELL should ANY town, city, county, or state be compelled to provide any sort of translation services at the polling stations?
There’s gotta be a flaw somewhere in my logic. Big Wizbang Bonus Bucks (redeemable for absolutely nothing) for whoever can figure out where the catch is — because I sure as hell can’t see it.