The Federal Voting Rights Act requires Gwinnett County to provide bi-lingual ballot access in Spanish due to it’s large population of Spanish speaking voters. The State of Georgia sent absentee ballot applications in English only to Gwinnett County active voters.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed suit on behalf of five civil rights organizations, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, New Georgia Project and Common Cause for absentee ballot applications to be mailed and provided on the state website in accurately translated Spanish.
U.S. Judge William Ray II denied the preliminary injunction because the State of Georgia sent out the absentee ballot applications as opposed to the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections. Since the Secretary of State’s office didn’t coordinate with the county, there was “no duty” to send the applications in Spanish.
The U.S. Census estimated the Hispanic or Latino population at 21.5% in 2019. Under the Voting Rights Act, a single language group is covered if the population is more than 10,000 or more than five percent of all voting age citizens.
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