Those legally voting should know the English language

In order to become a U.S. citizen, all naturalization applicants must meet the following requirements (unless they qualify for an exemption or apply based on their U.S. military service):

Applicants must be of the minimum required age (typically, at least 18), and they must continuously and physically live in the United States as a green card holder for a certain number of years. The applicant must establish residency in the state or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services district where they intend to apply and be of “good moral character.” They must register for military service (if a male of a certain age) and be willing to perform civil service when required and swear allegiance to the United States. And lastly, the prospective candidate must be proficient in basic spoken and written English and demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government.

Once again, they MUST be proficient in basic spoken and written English!

If it is a mandatory for aspiring United States citizens to speak and understand the English language, why is Groton – or for that matter any other city in the state — printing voting ballots in multiple languages? According to the office of Connecticut's Secretary of State, nine communities in the state — Bridgeport, East Hartford, Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Waterbury and Windham — are mandated to provide multiple language voting ballots for their residents. Groton is taking part in the program voluntarily.

Congress amended the Voting Rights Act in 1975 in order to enforce the guarantees of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. That law covers those localities where there are more than 10,000 or over 5 percent of the total voting age citizens who are members of a single language minority group; have depressed literacy rates; and do not speak English very well. The U.S. Department of Justice dictates that provisions must be provided for individuals who can't read or speak English in the languages Spanish, Asian, Native American, and Alaskan Native


Diversity within this 50-state melting pot is a spectacular experiment that undoubtedly owes its success to the vast assortment of varied individuals coming together to live freely in America. Countless distinctive groups have exercised their unique singular qualities helping to create the greatest country on Earth. However, the loss of a common culture and the disintegration of a singular uniting language is a potentially perilous combination.

If prospective U.S. citizens can't read or write in English, how do they navigate the highways or listen to police or firefighter commands? How can they deal in commerce, banking, payroll, or understand the requirements at most places of employment? If incoming immigrants can't speak English, they shouldn't be eligible or able to pass the citizenship test and therefore should not be voting.

As for children of new immigrants who are born citizens in this country but who grow into young adults who can't read or speak English, that's their own personal failure. Most education systems provide numerous language programs in an attempt to prepare non-English speaking students for better opportunities. At the same time, it should be incumbent on the individual to learn and absorb the primary language of this nation, not the burden of the nation to adjust to those who refuse to assimilate. Yes, I used the word assimilate, even though that word has been hijacked by professional race-baiters and twisted into something ugly.

We have enough questions about the legitimacy of the voting process, so why continue to muck it up by adding multiple levels of confusion? In cases like Groton, it seems patently unfair for the town to single out one ethnic group and champion those residents by providing them an advantage when it comes to the ballot box. Why not Asian ballots or Russian? Or Arabic? I think the biggest mosque in the region calls Groton home.

My grandmother, Yolanda Musacchio, worked 10-plus hours a day in a dirty factory in downtown New London, banking nickels and dimes, all the while speaking in heavy accented, broken English. Every year, I’d get two cards signed "To Li" (that’s how she spelled Lee) with $5 cash. One was for my birthday and the other was for Christmas. If a first-generation immigrant with little to no education could successfully navigate the oppressively confusing world of voting I'm confident that freedom-loving folks who aspire to become contributing American citizens can figure out an English-language ballot sufficiently to cast a ballot for the candidates of their choice.

Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.



Loading comments...
Hide Comments