In MJD's blog today, he recommends the Idle Words post on Bilingual Ballots. While the pro-bilingual ballots piece starts off as a good rebuttal of George Will's original commentary, as soon as one point is made, the remainder falls victim to muddled thinking.
If you claim that reading ballots in English is difficult because they are written in legalese, then claiming that we should translate them into Spanish just means translating them into Spanish legalese. Although we hate it, Legalese has the benefit of using extremely narrowly defined meanings ("Sexual Relations", anyone?).
But translation from one narrowly-defined language to another only works for the phrases that are exactly the same. Good luck. We already have enough arguments over what Legalese means, without compounding problems by having two or more versions of what the legislators were proposing.
Of course, we could come up with a translation service for all the languages that we somehow deemed useful enough and an alert system to inform registered alternative language speakers of translation issues and a re-voting system if translation issues are detected post-vote, OR we could just publish the ballots in advance and people could be free to look up the legal definitions at their local libraries.
Which solution do you like?