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.
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.
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.
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 applicants' drivers' 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 list maintenance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.