WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced today the settlement of a lawsuit against the city of Walnut, Calif., alleging violations of the rights of Chinese- and Korean-speaking voters under the Voting Rights Act.
“By agreeing to implement a comprehensive and effective remedial plan, the city of Walnut’s officials have demonstrated a genuine commitment to addressing past problems and protecting the voting rights and ballot access of all American citizens,” said Rena J. Comisac, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
The settlement agreement with the city of Walnut, which still must be approved by a panel of three judges, requires the city to provide all voting materials and assistance in Chinese and Korean as well as in English, and to permit the Justice Department to monitor future elections. The complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleged that the city of Walnut failed to meet its legal responsibilities under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act to provide materials and assistance to Korean- and Chinese-speaking voters at the polls. The city’s failure to provide such materials and assistance resulted in voters not being able to access the polls or cast an informed ballot. This is the first lawsuit ever filed by the Civil Rights Division on behalf of Korean American voters.
Since 2002, the Division has brought twice as many lawsuits to enforce the language minority provisions of the Act as it brought in the preceding 23 years combined. Under this Administration, the Division also has filed the first cases in its history on behalf of Filipino, Haitian, and Vietnamese American voters.
To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices, including acts of harassment or intimidation, voters may call the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931. More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice Web site at www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.