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Press Release

Justice Department Secures Agreement with New Jersey County to Resolve Voting Rights Act Lawsuit

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey
Court-Ordered Agreement Includes Comprehensive Spanish-Language Election Program to Assist Voters with Limited English Proficiency

NEWARK, N.J. – The Justice Department announced today that it has secured an agreement that provides for a comprehensive Spanish-language election program for voters in Union County, New Jersey. The consent decree was approved by a three-judge court in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.

The proposed consent decree was filed in federal court in conjunction with a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. The department’s lawsuit brings claims under Sections 203 and 208 of the Voting Rights Act regarding the availability of election assistance and materials in Spanish for Spanish-speaking voters with limited English proficiency. Section 203 requires that certain jurisdictions, including Union County, provide election materials and assistance in other languages, in addition to English. Section 208 provides a right for voters who need assistance with voting – due to inability to read or write, blindness or disability – to receive that assistance from the person of their choice, with certain limited exceptions. 

Under the consent decree, the Union County Clerk and Board of Elections will provide all election-related information in both English and Spanish, including information displayed in polling places and online. The Union County Board of Elections will also ensure that in-person language assistance is available at all early voting sites and at each election district with at least 100 Spanish-surnamed registered voters. Spanish-language assistance will continue to be available to all voters by telephone during elections. In addition, the consent decree provides that any voter covered by Section 208 who needs assistance to vote may be assisted by the person of that voter’s choice, other than an agent of the voter’s employer or union, during any stage of the voting process. The consent decree also provides that federal observers may monitor election day activities in polling places in Union County.

“The right to vote is the bedrock of our democracy,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, District of New Jersey, said.  “We remain committed to ensuring that every eligible New Jersey voter can vote without language barriers.  Now that a court order is in place, we look forward to working with Union County to accomplish this goal.” 

“The Justice Department is committed to protecting the right to vote,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said. “This agreement will ensure that Spanish-speaking residents of Union County can fully access the ballot box. The Civil Rights Division will continue to use every tool available to protect the rights of all voters seeking to participate in our democracy.”

Individuals may file voting rights complaints with the Civil Rights Division either online here, or may call (800) 253-3931. Individuals may also contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey either online here or may call (855) 281-3339.

More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting rights laws are available on the Justice Department’s website at

The government is represented by Michael E. Campion, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Division; Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Millenky of the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights Division; Bert Russ, Deputy Chief of the Voting Section in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; Bruce Gear, Trial Attorney, Voting Section; and Michelle Rupp, Trial Attorney, Voting Section.


Updated June 21, 2023

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 23-181