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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS;
SHARON WILSON, the
ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATOR, in
her official capacity; the
ECTOR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
COURT; and JERRY D. CADDEL,
the COUNTY JUDGE, in his
The United States of America, Plaintiff herein, alleges:
- The Attorney General files this action pursuant to
Section 4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ("Section 4
(f)(4)"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1973b; 42 U.S.C. § 1973j; and
28 U.S.C. § 2201.
- The Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 1973j. The events relevant to
this action occurred in Ector County, which is located in the
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas,
- Defendant ECTOR COUNTY is a political and geographical
subdivision of the State of Texas.
- Defendant SHARON WILSON is the Elections Administrator
of Ector County. In her capacity as Elections Administrator,
Defendant Wilson has responsibilities concerning the
administration of voting and elections in Ector County.
Defendant Wilson is sued in her official capacity.
- Defendant ECTOR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT is the
primary budgetary authority for the County and for the Elections
Administrator of Ector County.
- Defendant JERRY D. CADDEL is the County Judge of Ector
County and has budgetary and administrative responsibilities in
the County. Defendant Caddel is sued in his official capacity.
- According to the 2000 Census, Ector County had a total
population of 121,123 persons, of whom 51,306 (42.4%) were
Hispanic persons; and a total citizen voting-age population of
77,460 persons, of whom 24,840 (32.1%) were Hispanic persons.
- According to the 2000 Census, 6,775 Hispanic voting-age
citizens in Ector County were limited English proficient.
- Ector County, as a political subdivision of the State
of Texas, is subject to the requirements of Section 4(f)(4) with
respect to the Spanish language. See 42 U.S.C. 1973b; see also
40 Fed. Reg. 43,746 (Sept. 23, 1975); 28 C.F.R. § 55.5(b). The
determination that Ector County is covered by Section 4(f)(4)
for Spanish language is final and non-reviewable. See 42 U.S.C.
§ 1973b(a)(9)(b); 28 C.F.R. § 55.4(a)(1).
- Ector County has been continuously covered under
Section 4(f)(4) to provide bilingual elections in Spanish since
September 1975. See 40 Fed. Reg. 43,746 (Sept. 23, 1975). The
Department has directly notified Ector County election officials
regarding the bilingual election requirements of the Voting
- Because Ector County is subject to the requirements of
Section 4(f)(4), "any registration or voting notices, forms,
instructions, assistance, or other materials or information
relating to the electoral process, including ballots" that
Defendants provide in English must also be furnished in Spanish
to Spanish-speaking voters. 42 U.S.C. § 1973b(f)(4).
CAUSE OF ACTION
- Defendants have failed to provide effective election-related
information and assistance in Spanish to Spanish-speaking voters as required
by Section 4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act, by failing to recruit, appoint,
train, and maintain an adequate pool of bilingual poll officials capable of
providing Hispanic citizens with limited English proficiency
necessary and effective language assistance on election day.
- Defendants have also failed to provide certain
election-related information, including but not limited to
information publicizing elections, in a manner that assures
Spanish-speaking voters an effective opportunity to be informed
about election-related activities.
- Defendants' failure to provide Spanish-speaking
citizens of Ector County with Spanish-language election
assistance and information, as described above, constitutes a
violation of Section 4(f)(4).
- Unless enjoined by this Court, Defendants will
continue to violate Section 4(f)(4) by failing to provide
Spanish-speaking citizens of Ector County with Spanish-language
election assistance on election day necessary for their
effective political participation.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff the United States of America prays that
this Court enter an order:
(1) Declaring that Defendants have failed to provide
election assistance and information necessary to
those who require it in Spanish for effective
political participation, in violation of Section
4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.
(2) Enjoining Defendants, their employees, agents, and
successors in office, and all persons acting in
concert with them, from failing to provide Spanish-language election assistance and information to
persons with limited English proficiency as required
by Section 4(f)(4), 42 U.S.C. § 1973b(f)(4);
(3) Requiring Defendants to devise and implement a
remedial plan to ensure that Spanish-speaking
citizens with limited English proficiency are able to
understand, learn of, and participate in all phases
of the electoral process as required by Section
4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.
(4) Requiring the Defendants to publicize effectively the
remedial plans and programs addressing violations of
Section 4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act to ensure
their widespread dissemination to Ector County's
minority language voters; and
(5) Authorizing the appointment of federal examiners for
elections held in Ector County pursuant to Section
3(a) of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973a(a),
as long as the Decree is in effect.
Plaintiff further prays that this Court order such
additional relief as the interests of justice may require,
together with the costs and disbursements in maintaining this
Date: 22nd day of August, 2005
ALBERTO R. GONZALES
BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
United States Attorney
JOHN S. KLASSEN
Assistant United States Attorney
State Bar No. 11553500
Telephone: (432) 686-4110
Facsimile: (432) 686-4131
Chief, Voting Section
Special Litigation Counsel
JOHN "BERT" RUSS
JOSHUA L. ROGERS
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division,
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW - NWB-7254
Washington, D.C. 20530
Telephone: (202) 353-7738
Facsimile: (202) 307-3961