WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Nov. 3, a federal court approved an agreement between the York County Board of Elections and CASA (a nonprofit civil rights organization “dedicated to uplifting and leveraging the voices of Pennsylvania’s immigrant and Latino communities”) expanding the county’s Spanish-language materials for the 2022 midterm elections. This agreement ensued after CASA filed a lawsuit against members of the York County Board of Elections challenging the board’s English-only practices. In the suit, CASA alleges that, despite York County’s substantial Puerto Rican population, the board previously conducted “English-only election practices” and failed to provide Spanish-language ballots “in the vast majority of its precincts” or “sufficient Spanish-language election materials or assistance.” The complaint argues that these English-only practices violate Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act, 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.’” Today, a federal court signed off on the agreement, which will ensure that voters who speak Spanish have equal access to the ballot box.
Among many provisions, the agreement stipulates that Spanish-language sample ballots will be available to Spanish-speaking voters in every precinct in York County and on the board’s website, election workers will post signs regarding York County’s Spanish-language assistance line, the county will provide materials and training for Spanish-speaking poll workers and the board will post specific notices in Spanish on its website. This is a victory for voters who will benefit from expanded access to the voting process as a result of additional Spanish-language materials and resources.