WASHINGTON (AP) - In the run-up to the 2012 elections, the federal government is requiring that 248 counties and other political jurisdictions in 25 states provide bilingual ballots to Hispanics and other minorities who speak little or no English.
That's down from the previous list compiled a decade ago after the 2000 census, which covered 296 counties in 30 states.
The federal Voting Rights Act mandates bilingual material if a Latino, Asian-American, American Indian or Alaskan minority group is unable to speak or understand English well enough to vote in elections.
Combined with other provisions of the voting act, more than 1 in 18 jurisdictions must now provide bilingual material, effective this week.
The Census Bureau compiles the list based on population growth and survey data on educational attainment and English proficiency.