Voting language trial begins

ANCHORAGE (AP) — A judge in Anchorage is conducting a trial in a voting rights lawsuit filed by several Alaska villages that alleges the state has failed to provide accurate, complete translations of voting materials into Alaska Native languages.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the case went to trial Monday. The lawsuit was filed last year by the Native American Rights Fund on behalf of four Native villages and elders with limited English skills.

The lawsuit says state officials including Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and elections director Gail Fenumiai denied voting rights by failing to provide all voting materials with Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Gwich’in translations.

The state says elections officials have taken all reasonable steps to implement standards for non-English speaking language voting materials equivalent to those for English speakers.