Voting Rights Act Section 203 Cases

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Acting Assistant Attorney General

DEBRA WONG YANG, United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney (#93390)
United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street, 14th floor
Los Angeles, California 90012
Telephone: (213) 894-2727
Facsimile: (213) 894-7177

SUSANA LORENZO-GIGUERE, Special Litigation Counsel
AVNER SHAPIRO, Trial Attorney
JOHN "BERT" RUSS, Trial Attorney (#192471)
Voting Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. - NWB-7254
Washington, D.C. 20530
Telephone: (202) 305-1840
Facsimile: (202) 307-3961

Counsel for Plaintiff
United States of America


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,                                                        No. 05-05132
                                          v.                                                                  THREE-JUDGE COURT
CITY OF PARAMOUNT, CALIFORNIA;                                            COMPLAINT
and PAT WEST, in his official                            
capacity as Paramount City                                  


The United States of America, Plaintiff herein, alleges:

  1. The Attorney General files this action pursuant to Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ("Section 203"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-1a; 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-2; and 28 U.S.C. ァ 2201.
  2. The Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ァ 1345 and 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-2. In accordance with the provisions of 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-2 and 28 U.S.C. ァ 2284, the Section 203 claim must be heard and determined by a court of three judges. The events relevant to this action occurred in the City of Paramount, which is located in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
  3. Defendant THE CITY OF PARAMOUNT ("Paramount" or "the City") is a political and geographical subdivision of the County of Los Angeles and the State of California.
  4. Defendant PAT WEST is the Paramount City Manager. In this capacity, Defendant WEST has responsibilities for the administration of City affairs, including responsibilities relating to the administration of voting and elections in Paramount. Defendant WEST is sued in his official capacity.
  5. The 2000 Census reported that the City of Paramount had a total population of 55,266, of whom 39,945 were Hispanic (72.3%). The City had a total voting age population ("VAP") of 34,881, of whom 24,222 (69.4%) were Hispanic. The total citizen voting age population ("CVAP") for the City was 20,398, of whom 10,592 (51.9%) were Hispanic.
  6. The Census Bureau has designated the County of Los Angeles as subject to the requirements of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act for Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. See 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-1a(b)(2); see also 67 Fed. Reg. 48,871 (July 26, 2002). As a political unit within the County of Los Angeles, the City of Paramount is also subject to the requirements of Section 203 for these languages. See 28 C.F.R. ァ 55.9. The coverage determination of the Census Bureau is final and non-reviewable. See 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-1a(b)(4). Significant numbers of Spanish-speaking citizens with limited English proficiency ("Spanish-speaking citizens") who need assistance in the election process in the Spanish language reside in the City.
  7. As a political subdivision of Los Angeles County, Paramount has been continuously subject to Section 203's requirements to provide election materials and information in Spanish since September 18, 1992. See 57 Fed. Reg. 43,213 (Sept. 18, 1992); 67 Fed. Reg. 48,871 (July 26, 2002). The United States Department of Justice has directly notified election officials, including Paramount and Los Angeles County election officials, of their jurisdictions' responsibilities under Section 203, and Los Angeles County separately has provided such information to City of Paramount officials.
  8. Because Paramount 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, for its Spanish-speaking citizens. 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-1a(c).


  9. In conducting elections in Paramount, Defendants have:
    1. failed to translate into Spanish the following written election-day materials and information:

      (1) official ballot
      (2) voter registration form
      (3) sign identifying "polling place"
      (4) sign regarding not damaging voter equipment
      (5) provisional ballot envelope
      (6) provisional ballot receipt
      (7) information regarding poll watchers
      (8) opto-mark demonstration ballot
      (9) telephone card for precinct information
      (10) sign indicating polling place hours
      (11) sign indicating voter parking
      (12) form for voters with disabilities; and

    2. published all of its pre-election notices and announcements relating to the date, time, place, and nature of its elections, including its Spanish language translations of those notices and announcements, in English language publications only.
  10. Defendants' failure to provide Spanish language election information to Spanish-speaking citizens, as described above, constitutes a violation of Section 203.
  11. Unless enjoined by this Court, Defendants will continue to violate Section 203 by failing to provide Paramount's Spanish-speaking citizens with the Spanish language election information necessary for their political participation.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiff the United States of America prays that this Court enter an order:

(1) Declaring that Defendants have failed to provide Spanish language election information to Spanish-speaking citizens in violation of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-1a;

(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 information to Spanish-speaking citizens as required by Section 203, 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-1a;

(3) Requiring Defendants to devise and implement a remedial plan to ensure that Spanish-speaking citizens are able to participate in all phases of the electoral process as required by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973aa-1a;

(4) Requiring Defendants to devise and implement a remedial plan to ensure that, in the event that the need for materials and assistance arises in other languages subject to the requirements of Section 203, the City will provide election-related information and materials to residents needing such assistance.

(5) Requiring Defendants to publicize the remedial plan and programs addressing violations of Section 203 in such a manner as to ensure its widespread dissemination to Paramount's voters; and

(6) Authorizing the appointment of federal examiners for elections held in Paramount pursuant to
Section 3(a) of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. ァ 1973a(a), through August 6, 2007.

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.

Date: _14th__ day of _July_, 2005

Attorney General

Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

United States Attorney

Chief, Voting Section

Trial Attorneys, Voting Section
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 305-1840

Updated August 6, 2015

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