Hyderabad: In view of the US elections, scheduled to take place on 3 November, the Indian diaspora has gained a lot of importance during the campaigning as they form a large group in the country. Amidst this, a message along with photos have gone viral on social media claiming that Telugu has been recognised as the official language in the USA and that ballots will be offered in Telugu in the upcoming elections.
In an article published on 19 October, the Hans India reported, “A very proud moment for all Telugu people across the globe as the Donald Trump government in the United States of America has recognised the Telugu language as the official language for communication in the United States. With the latest development, the Telugu people across the world have a reason to celebrate. Going into the details, the US presidential election is scheduled for November 3 wherein the voter ballot paper will be printed in different languages.”
Though ballots will appear in Telugu in the upcoming US presidential elections, the claim that Telugu is now the official language of the US is FALSE.
Along with Telugu, the US has included several languages to enable smooth voting during the elections. But that does not mean that Telugu has been made an official language in the US as the country has NO official language.
We found an article published in CNN.com that said, “A lot of multilingual countries promote an official language, but the United States has never done so with English. In fact, the US has no official language.”
Despite the many languages spoken in the US, the country does not have an official language. English is only a de facto primary language in the country. Neither the federal government nor the Constitution of the US gives a reason as to why the country does not have an official language.
According to Share America.gov, in the United States, ballots appear in multiple languages to help voters with limited English proficiency choose their leaders and weigh in on issues. In California, for example, voters will be able to request a ballot written in Arabic, Armenian, Hmong, Korean, Persian, Spanish, Syriac, or Tagalog, among other languages.
Telugu is one of the languages used in California and also the state of Alaska to assist the voters. Here is the link to the Registrar of Voters, County of Sancta Clara, which has facsimile ballot application instructions in many languages, including Telugu.
A study published by the Center for Immigration Studies in 2018 said Telugu was the fastest growing language in the US. “Of languages with more than 400,000 speakers in 2017, the largest percentage increases from 2010 to 2017 were among speakers of Telugu (up 86 per cent)," the study said.
The US Department of Justice has mentioned its provisions of language minority voting right on its website.
Hence, while it is true that ballots will appear in several languages, including Telugu, the claim that Telugu has been recognised as the official language of USA is FALSE.