CASES RAISING CLAIMS UNDER THE HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT
United States v. Fort Bend County, TX (S.D. Tex. 2009)
On April 9, 2009, the Department simultaneously filed a complaint
against and proposed consent decree with Fort Bend County, TX. The complaint alleges the county failed to
implement an effective bilingual election program for Spanish-speaking voters in violation of Section 4(f)(4) of
the VRA and failed to allow eligible voters to receive assistance from the persons of their choice in violation of
Section 208 of the VRA. The complaint also alleges that the county failed to offer provisional ballots to eligible
voters in federal elections, and it failed to provide required information to provisional voters, in violation of
HAVA. On April 13, 2009, the court entered the consent decree
United States v. Bolivar County, MS (N.D. Miss. 2008)
On February 15, 2008, the United States filed a complaint
alleging that county officials violated Section 302(a) of the HAVA, by failing to establish a free
access system for voters to ascertain whether their provisional ballots were counted during elections
for Federal office. On February 27, the court entered the consent
which provides procedures for the County to follow to ensure that voters who cast
provisional ballots receive the required information about their ballots following the election.
United States v. Galveston County, TX (S.D. Tex. 2007)
On July 16, 2007, the United States filed a complaint
against Galveston County under the Help America Vote Act of 2002. The complaint
alleges that the County failed to provide provisional ballots to individuals eligible to vote, failed
to post specific voting information at polling places and provide adequate instructions for mail-in
registrants and first time voters. On July 20, 2007, the court entered the
United States v. City of Philadelphia, PA (E.D. Pa. 2007)
On October 13, 2006, the United States filed a
complaint against the City of Philadelphia, PA, under Sections 203 and 208 of the Voting
Rights Act for failing to establish an effective Spanish bilingual program and for denying
limited-English proficient voters their assistor of choice. On April 26, 2007, the United States
filed an amended complaint, contemporaneously
with the signing of a settlement agreement.
The amended complaint further alleged violations of Sections 2 of the Voting Rights Act as the election
system and procedures denied minority voters equal access to the election process, and 4(e) of the
Voting Rights Act for its failure to provide election information to citizens educated in Spanish in
American flag schools in Puerto Rico; violations of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 for failing to
provide alternative-language information; and a violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration
Act of 1993 for failing to remove deceased voters from the rolls. The settlement agreement, among other things,
requires the defendants to establish an effective bilingual program, including bilingual interpreters
and alternative-language information; to allow limited-English proficient voters to utilize
assistors of choice; to provide alternative-language information; and to undertake a program of
voter list maintenance. On June 4, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania entered an order retaining
jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement until July 1, 2009.
On July 14, 2008, the settlement agreement was amended.
United States v. Cibola County (D.N.M. 2007)
On January 31, 2007, the United States filed an
amended complaint against Cibola County, New Mexico, to add claims under the National
Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). The County
violated HAVA by failing to ensure that provisional ballots were available and offered to Laguna
and other voters and by failing to require indentification from certain first-time voters who
registered by mail. Simultaneous with the filing of the amended complaint, the parties filed
an amended joint stipulation in which the County agreed to remedy the NVRA and HAVA violations,
as well as to extend the provisions of the prior joint stipulation. The court entered the
amended joint stipulation on March 19, 2007.
In the original complaint filed in 1993, the United States alleged that Cibola County had
violated Sections 2 and 203 of the Voting Rights Act by failing to ensure that American Indians
in the County have an equal opportunity to participate in the electoral process, including those
who rely on Keres and Navajo, American Indian languages that are historically unwritten. The
parties initially resolved this case in 1994 through a stipulation and order that required
the County to establish an effective Native American Election Information Program. The federal
court had entered on May 3, 2004, an order approving a joint stipulation, which modified the
original one and extended it through December 31, 2006.
United States v. State of New Jersey (D.N.J. 2006)
On October 12, 2006, the Department filed a complaint
against the State of New Jersey to enforce the requirements of HAVA. The complaint alleges
that the State had not fully implemented its computerized statewide voter registration list
for use in the upcoming federal election nor collected new voter applicantís driversís license
or social security numbers as required. Also, on October 12, 2006, a
stipulation and order was approved by the federal
district court requiring the State to fully implement the statewide voter registration list,
collect the required identifiers for each new voter registration, and perform the requisite
United States v. Cochise County (D. Ariz. 2006)
On June 16, 2006, the United States filed a
complaint against Cochise County, Arizona, for violations of Section 203 of the Voting
Rights Act of 1965 and Section 302 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). The complaint
alleges that Cochise County repeatedly failed to post certain information in polling places
during federal elections, as required by HAVA. On October 12, 2006, the court entered a
consent decree which requires the posting of
HAVA-required materials in English and Spanish.
United States v. State of Maine, (D. Me. 2006)
On July 28, 2006, the Department filed a complaint against
the State of Maine alleging violations of HAVA the ensure full access to voting for disabled
voters, requiring that each polling place have a voting system accessible to disabled voters.
On August 14, the federal court approved a consent decree
between the Department and the State.
United States v. State of Alabama (M.D. Ala. 2006)
In this Action, the United alleged in its complaint
State of Alabama and its chief elections office had not taken the actions necessary to achieve
timely compliance with Sections 303(a) and 303(b) of the Help America Vote Act, includng
implementing a uniform, official, interactive computerized statewide voter registration list,
coordinating with necessary statewide agency databases and the Social Security Administration
regarding the statewide voter registration list and failing to collect proscribed
identification information from applicants for voting. The court ordered a special master to
take control of the HAVA compliance process and required the State to remedy its HAVA violations
by August 31, 2007.
United States v. State of New York (N.D. N.Y. 2006)
On March 1, 2006, the Department filed a complaint against
the State of New York to enforce requirements of HAVA. The complaint alleges that the State
failed to comply with the requirements of the Act regarding voting system standards and a
statewide voter registration database.
United States v. Westchester County (S.D. NY 2005)
In this action, the United States alleged it its complaint
that the county had violated both Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act by failing to have an effective
Spanish language election program and Section 302 of the Help America Vote Act by failing to post the
information required by the section to be posted in polling places. On July 19, 2005,
a consent decree resolving both claims was approved by a three-judge court. The decree would require the county to provide a Spanish language election
program and assure compliance with the Help America Vote Act.
On January 3, 2008, the consent decree was extended through December 31, 2008.
United States v. San Benito County (N.D. Cal. 2004)
In this action, the United States alleged in its complaint
that the county had violated both Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act by
failing to have an effective Spanish language election program and Section 302 of the Help
America Vote Act by failing to post the information required by that section to be posted
in polling places and by failing to provide the requisite written information regarding the
process of casting a provisional ballot. The court entered a consent
decree, requiring the county to provide a Spanish language election program. This consent decree expired
on December 31, 2006.