Not Enough of a Minority?: Arab Americans and the Language Assistance Provisions (Section 203) of the Voting Rights Act

With the Voting Rights Act set to expire in 2007, debate has ensued regarding the protections it provides for minority groups. Section 203 of the Act protects language minorities, but under these protections, only four minority groups are afforded bilingual access to voting materials. This Note argues that the Act is imperative to the protection of minority voters, especially those belonging to a language minority group. This Note further argues that not only should the Voting Rights Act be renewed, but § 203 should be revised to include Arab Americans. The Note focuses on the Arab American community because it is one language minority group that is not protected under the Voting Rights Act. Furthermore, there are several barriers to bilingual access under § 203. This Note explores these barriers and advocates revision of § 203 so that all language minorities may be afforded the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.