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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Case No.: 5:07-cv-00148
SMYER INDEPENDENT SCHOOL COMPLAINT
DISTRICT; and JANE LEWIS, CHIEF
ELECTION OFFICER, in her official capacity,
The United States of America, Plaintiff herein, alleges:
- The Attorney General of the United States hereby files this action to enforce the provisions of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1973b(f)(4), with respect to the conduct of elections in the SMYER INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT (the "ISD").
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345; 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-2; and 28 U.S.C. § 2201. In accordance with the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-2 and 28 U.S.C. § 2284, the United States' claim brought under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended ("Section 203"), must be heard and determined by a court of three judges.
- Venue is proper in this court as the events relevant to this action occurred in the County of Hockley, which is located in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
- Defendant ISD is an independent political unit within Hockley County and the State of Texas.
- Defendant ISD is responsible for the ordering and administration of elections pursuant to V. T. C. A., Education Code § 11.011 and § 11.051, et seq. and V. T. C. A., Election Code §§ 3.004(a)(3) and 4.002.
- Defendant JANE LEWIS is the ISD's Chief Election Officer and responsible for administration of elections within the ISD.
- According to the 2000 Census, the ISD had a total population of 1,623, of whom 457 (28.2%) were Hispanic. The Census reported that the ISD had a total voting age population of 1,123, of whom 273 (24.3%) were Hispanic.
- The Director of the Census has designated the County of Hockley as subject to the requirements of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act for Spanish. See 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1a(b)(2); see also 67 Fed. Reg. 48,871 (July 26, 2002). As a political unit within the County of Hockley, the ISD is also subject to the requirements of Section 203 for Spanish. See 28 C.F.R. § 55.9. The Census coverage determination is final and non-reviewable. See 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1a(b)(4).
- Because the ISD is subject to the requirements of Section 203, "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. 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1a(c).
CAUSE OF ACTION
- Defendants have failed to provide accurate Spanish translations of all election related materials produced in English.
- Defendants' failure to provide accurate Spanish language election information constitutes a violation of Section 203.
- Unless enjoined by this Court, Defendants will continue to violate Section 203 by failing to provide limited-English proficient citizens of the ISD accurate and reliable Spanish language election information necessary for their equal political participation.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the United States of America prays that this Court enter an order:
- Declaring that Defendants have failed to provide accurate Spanish language election information necessary to those who require it, in violation of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1a; and,
- Ordering Defendants to implement a procedure to ensure that limited-English proficient Spanish speaking citizens are able to participate in all phases of the electoral process as required by Section 203, 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1a, by producing accurate Spanish translations of election related materials.
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 action.
Dated: __July 16___ , 2007.
ALBERTO R. GONZALEZ
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
RICHARD B. ROPER
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
State Bar No. 07488080
Chief, Voting Section
Acting Deputy Chief
J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS
ERNEST A. MCFARLAND
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Room 7254- NWB
Washington, D.C. 20530