State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania York County English-Only Challenge

CASA v. Wheeler

Lawsuit filed by CASA (a nonprofit civil rights organization “dedicated to uplifting and leveraging the voices of Pennsylvania’s immigrant and Latino communities”) against members of the York County Board of Elections challenging the county’s English-only election practices despite its substantial Puerto Rican population. On Sept. 14, the group sent a letter requesting that the county provide “Spanish-language materials and assistance” for the 2022 elections, but, according to the plaintiff, the board of elections did not respond. The group also alleges that, after further contact, CASA was not successful in compelling the board to make changes. CASA notes that if the county does not provide Spanish-language ballots, election materials and assistance, “CASA’s members will effectively be disenfranchised.”

The group notes that York County has a substantial population of citizens who “are eligible to vote, attended school in Puerto Rico in which the classroom language was [predominantly] Spanish, and are unable to vote effectively in English” and argue that Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) “prohibits denying the right to vote to any person who attended a school in Puerto Rico in which the predominant classroom language was other than English because of his or her ‘inability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter in the English language.’”

The plaintiff alleges that the lack of Spanish-language materials violates the VRA and requests that the court block the York County Board of Elections from conducting elections without Spanish-language election materials, ballots and assistance.

On Nov. 3, CASA and the York County Board of Elections entered an agreement to expand the county’s Spanish-language materials for the 2022 midterm elections.

On Aug. 23, 2023 the parties reached a settlement agreement for elections through 2028.

Case Documents

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