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Imelda Mejia, ACLU of Texas, 317-751-3014,media@aclutx.org

September 24, 2018

HOUSTON — With weeks to go before the November 6 election, the ACLU of Texas has sent advisal letters to 36 counties across Texas that may be in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The letters urge the identified counties to comply with a provision in the law that requires any information about voting or elections to be provided in English and Spanish in counties where more than 10,000 or more than 5% of all voting age citizens are Spanish-speakers with low English proficiency.

“Counties need to ensure that they are providing all citizens with information that will enable them to vote,” said Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “The obligation to provide information in Spanish is a simple but important requirement which helps to remove barriers to voting in the state with the largest number of counties needing foreign language voting materials.”

ACLU of Texas attorneys reviewed county election websites and looked at whether pertinent information was made available in Spanish, including voter identification information, key voting dates, voter registration information, and applications for ballot by mail and absentee voting. The preliminary research determined that 36 counties had inadequate or inaccessible information in Spanish, had poor or misleading translations, or offered no voting information in Spanish at all. For example, one county's use of an automated translation service translated the term “runoff election” as “election water leak” or “election drainage.”

Several counties have already responded positively to the letters, agreeing to comply with the Voting Rights Act and include Spanish language voting information on their websites.

The following jurisdictions were sent letters:

Andrews Bee Bexar
Calhoun Cameron Culberson
Dallam Dimmit Deaf Smith
Edwards Gaines Glasscock
Jeff Davis Jim Wells Kleberg
Lamb Lynn Matagorda
McMullen Medina Moore
Nolan Ochiltree Parmer
Presidio Refugio San Patricio
Schleicher Scurry Sutton
Titus Uvalde Val Verde
Willacy Yoakum Zavala

 

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