CASA Files Lawsuit Challenging English-Only Practices in Pennsylvania County

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Oct. 20, CASA (a nonprofit civil rights organization “dedicated to uplifting and leveraging the voices of Pennsylvania’s immigrant and Latino communities”) filed a lawsuit against members of the York County Board of Elections challenging the board’s English-only practices. Despite York County’s substantial Puerto Rican population, the group alleges that the board “conducts English-only election practices” and does not provide Spanish-language ballots “in the vast majority of its precincts.” The plaintiff also argues that the county “does not provide sufficient Spanish-language election materials or assistance.” The plaintiff alleges that these English-only practices violate the Voting Rights Act, specifically Section 4(e), which “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.’” 

On Sept. 14, the group sent a letter requesting that the county provide “Spanish-language ballots, voter registration services, other election materials, and bilingual poll workers” for the 2022 elections, but, according to the plaintiff, the board of elections did not respond. In today’s complaint, the group also alleges that, after further contact, CASA was not successful in compelling the board to make any changes. CASA argues that if the county does not provide Spanish-language ballots, election materials and assistance, “CASA’s members will effectively be disenfranchised.” The group explains 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.” The group argues the “irreparable injuries and fundamental right to vote for Plaintiff CASA’s members far outweigh any hardship that Defendants might contend they face in ensuring the provisions of Spanish-language election materials and assistance.”

Read the complaint here.

Learn more about the case here.