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City plans signs in Hmong, Spanish to help people vote

GREEN BAY, Wis. - August 16, 2000, Wednesday

The city will post voting instructions in Hmong and Spanish at its 48 polling stations starting as early as the Sept. 12 Brown County referendum.

Local Hmong and Hispanic leaders say that will help some people make better decisions at the polls.

"No doubt English is important, but you have to make these things accessible to people," said Jai Vang, director of the Green Bay Hmong Association. "Decisions that are made, especially at the local level, affect them and they should have a say."

The initiative was spearheaded by Brown County Supervisor Dave Hansen.

"The Spanish and Hmong population is growing in Green Bay and Wisconsin," said Hansen, who is running in a state Senate race against incumbent Gary Drzewiecki, R-Pulaski. "We want to let them know they can be part of the process, this is important and that they can make a difference."

The city's Hispanic population is estimated at 12,000, and the Southeast Asian community is about 4,000.

Drzewiecki didn't say he was opposed to the effort but said people in northeast Wisconsin would be best served if everyone knew English.

The ballots still will be printed in English.

In one Sept. 12 referendum, Brown County voters will consider imposing a one-half percent county sales tax to help pay for proposed renovations to Lambeau Field.

A second ballot question asks whether the county should be allowed to use money left over from the project for county services.