Letter to Hall County Urging the Elections Board to Retain English and Spanish Language Elections Materials
On January 10, 2018, the ACLU of Georgia sent a letter to the Hall County Board of Elections & Voter Registration notifying the board that its proposal to eliminate bilingual materials for its Spanish speaking U.S. citizens may violate the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Voting Rights Act requires that United States citizens who attended Spanish-language schools, such as those born and raised in Puerto Rico, are entitled to have access to Spanish-language elections information and ballots. Those born in Puerto Rico are United States citizens, and Hall County has over a thousand Puerto Rican residents.
The ACLU of Georgia urged the board to “reject any proposal to revert to the outdated and likely illegal English-only balloting system,” because “doing so will also likely save taxpayer dollars from being wasted on costly and protracted litigation.”
At its meeting on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, the Hall County Board of Elections is considering a proposal to reverse the decision the board made in April to provide bilingual English and Spanish materials and information for elections in Hall County.
“Excluding eligible United States citizens from participating in our democracy based on their ability to speak a particular language in un-American,” stated Sean J. Young, Legal Director of the ACLU of Georgia. “The Promise of America includes the sacred, constitutional right to vote. Our democracy is healthier when more rather than fewer U.S. citizens participate in our elections.”