State of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Pawtucket Spanish Election Materials And Provisional Ballot Challenge

United States v. City of Pawtucket

Lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against the city of Pawtucket and city election officials challenging the city’s lack of Spanish election materials and provisional ballots. In Pawtucket, 22.4% of the city’s voting age population is Hispanic. As such, the city is required to provide any voting or registration materials in Spanish to its Spanish-speaking voters. The DOJ claims that the city has not complied with this regulation by failing to recruit and train enough bilingual Spanish-speaking poll workers capable of assisting Spanish-speaking voters during elections. The DOJ also argues the city has failed to provide Spanish versions of important election materials such as ballots, postcard and newspaper notices and election information posted to the city’s and board of canvassers’ websites. The DOJ finally alleges that the city failed to provide eligible voters with a provisional ballot as required by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The DOJ argues that the city violated Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and Section 302 of HAVA, and ask the court to order the city to create a remedial program which provides its Spanish-speaking residents with the proper election materials and assistance, as well as ensure provisional ballots are provided to the necessary voters. 

STATUS: The DOJ filed its complaint on May 23, 2024. The parties have reached an agreement and await approval from the court. 

Case Documents

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