Language Officer Information
Language Officers are election officers, who in addition to performing all regular officer duties, may also assist voters in a language other than English.
Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act generally requires jurisdictions to provide language assistance to voters if more than 5% of voting-age citizens are members of a single-language minority group. In Fairfax County, we always assign Language Officers for Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean in needed precincts. When possible, we also try to assign Language Officers in Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Urdu, Russian, and ASL in needed precincts.
To qualify as a Language Officer, an individual must pass an oral language skills assessment. We then assign Language Officers to precincts based on US Census data and voter feedback. About one-third of our precincts are assigned at least one Language Officer.
- Language Officers are assigned every election, regardless of their party affiliation. For other officers, we must consider their party affiliation when making precinct assignments (e.g. in a single-party Democratic primary, we generally only assign Democratic officers).
- Language Officers are assigned before other officers.
- Language Officers must fluently speak English, in addition to their other language.
- Language officers will receive and wear a special name badge on election day which identifies them as a Language Officer and the language they speak.
- Language Officers receive the same stipend as regular officers.
Language Officer Referral Bonus
Beginning with the June 2022 election, we are offering a language officer referral bonus for two languages: Vietnamese and Korean.
If you are a new or existing officer and refer someone who successfully serves as a Language Officer in one of these languages, you are eligible to receive a $25 bonus stipend.
The new Language Officer receives the standard election officer stipend of $175.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE REFERRAL BONUS?
- Current and new Fairfax County election officers.
- Any election officer may receive the bonus, even if they are not assigned or do not serve in the next election.
WHEN IS THE REFERRAL BONUS PAID?
- The bonus will be paid with all other stipends, about 4-6 weeks after each election.
- A referring officer may earn a $25 bonus for each new Language Officer they refer. For example, if someone refers 3 new Language Officers who meet all requirements, they would receive a $75 bonus.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REFERRAL BONUS TO BE EARNED?
The referring officer must…
- Recruit an eligible person who has never previously applied or served as an officer in Fairfax County that would meet a specific and previously identified language need.
- Instruct the eligible person how to apply, making sure that they include the full name of the referring officer in their application.
The new Language Officer must…
- Be a currently registered Virginia voter.
- Submit the online election officer application. In the Comments section, make sure to put the full name of the person who referred you!
- Pass an oral language skills assessment in-person or by telephone.
- Schedule and attend an in-person hiring paperwork appointment.
- Complete all training requirements for the next scheduled Fairfax County election.
- Serve in the next scheduled election as a Language Officer
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF WHY A BONUS IS NOT EARNED AND PAID?
- The new Language Officer is not a registered voter or does not meet the requirements to be an election officer.
- The new Language Officer does not fluently speak English, in addition to their second language.
- The new Language Officer does not pass the language skills assessment.
- The new Language Officer does not provide the name of the individual who referred them, either in their online application or within a short but reasonable period time afterwards (e.g. one week).
- The new Language Officer does not complete training in a timely manner.
- The new Language Officer cancels their assignment for any reason, does not serve for their full shift, or asks to change positions.
If you have any questions regarding the referral bonus program, contact us at ElectionOfficers@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-324-4735 (8:00 AM – 4:30 PM).