Orange County must provide ballot information in Chinese and Korean for the November election, the result of a surge in minority populations documented by the 2000 Census.
Orange County already provides voting information in Spanish and Vietnamese. Adding the new languages will cost about $500,000 for each election, Registrar Rosalyn Lever said.
By comparison, voter information in Los Angeles County is provided in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and the Tagalog language of the Philippines.
Federal rules require that written and oral assistance be provided for voters when minority populations reach a certain size. In addition to written Chinese and Korean, Orange County must provide help in three Chinese dialects, Lever said.
Written materials will be available for those voters who state on their registration affidavits that they were born in China or Korea. Members of the Chinese and Korean communities will help the county identify any other voters who are in need of special information.
Orange County is in the process of choosing a new electronic voting system for the 2004 elections. Proposals are due Aug. 30, with the systems of the top three bidders to be presented during a series of open houses this fall.
"Electronic voting will be very easy because all of the vendors have room for lots of languages," Lever said.
Materials in the new languages will be translated by vendors into ideographic characters. Vietnam uses a Western-based alphabet.