Pennsylvania City Votes Against Removing English as Official Language


The city of Allentown, Pennsylvania, voted not to remove English as its official language in a referendum ballot question on Tuesday. “Shall paragraph B of Section 101 of the City of Allentown Home Rule Charter be removed from the Charter?” the ballot question read, according to the Morning Call. Paragraph B of Section 101 of the Allentown Home Rule Charter states, “English shall be the official language of the City of Allentown and the language in which City business shall be conducted, unless otherwise required by applicable state and/or federal law or regulation.” The Morning Call reports that 6,695 voted against removing English as the city’s official language, while over 3,000 voted in favor of the removal. Some took issue with the question itself, suggesting that the wording of the question was unclear, according to the outlet. The Morning Call reports that mail-in voters did not receive plain English statements regarding the referendum and multiple city council members claimed that some polling stations did not have plain English statements pertaining to the referendum. Had the referendum passed, the change would mainly be symbolic as the charter provision in no way prevents Allentown from communicating with non-English speakers, according to the Morning Call. Additionally, the provision does not hinder the city from “making city documents available in languages other than English,” according to the Morning Call. he vote for the referendum came after the city council approved the ballot question in April by a vote of six to one, the outlet reports.

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