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Florida Department of State

Florida Department of State

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Florida Department of State

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  1. Florida Department of State Kurt S. Browning Secretary of State Dr. Gisela Salas Director, Division of Elections Presented by: Maria Matthews, Assistant General Counsel Office of General Counsel, Department of State Telephone: 850-245-6536 June 23, 2011 (as revised post-conference)

  2. Language Minority Requirements Voting Rights Act

  3. Voting Rights Act • Adopted in 1965 (amended in 1970, 1975, 1982, 1992, and in 2006 extended to 2032) (Public Law 109-246) • Gave effect to 15th Amendment • “No person shall be denied the right to vote on account of race or color” • Created extraordinary enforcement remedies

  4. Voting Rights Act (VRA): Language minority requirements • At least two ways in which a jurisdiction may be designated and required to provide bi-lingual or multi-lingual election material/assistance • Section 4(f)(4) designation • Section 203 designation

  5. Voting Rights Act (VRA): Language minority requirements (cont’d) Jurisdiction MUST PROVIDE: • Registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance in the language of the applicable minority group (if there is written language) • Other election materials or information (e.g., sample, regular, absentee, provisional ballots, notices, candidate qualifying forms, instructional forms in the language of the applicable minority group) • Bi-lingual election staff and poll worker(s) available to communicate

  6. Voting Rights Act (VRA): Language minority requirements • Applicable to all elections within the boundary of the designated/covered jurisdiction • primary, general, bond, referenda, municipal, school district, special purpose district, etc.

  7. VRA: Section 4(f)(4) covered jurisdictions- threshold for designation • More than 5% of the voting age citizens were single language minority group on November 1, 1972 • Registration and election materials were only available in English on November 1, 1972, and 1973) • Less than 50% of the voting age citizens were registered to vote or voted in the 1972 Presidential Election.

  8. Who is currently covered under VRA Section 4(f)(4)? • Collier County (Hispanic, American Indian-Mikasuki/Seminole]) • Hardee County (Hispanic) • Hendry County(Hispanic; American Indian [Mikasuki/Seminole, Muskogee]) • Hillsborough County(Hispanic) • Monroe County(Hispanic) Fixed historical group-Requires bi-lingual materials and preclearance for voting/registration related law

  9. VRA: Section 203 covered jurisdictions-Threshold Designation Designated by Director of U.S. Census Bureau • Based U.S. Census Survey population/ethnic/literacy data using 1 of 4 formulas • Every 10 years • Designation in effect until threshold no longer met

  10. VRA: Section 203 covered jurisdictions-Formula 1: Political Subdivision • More than 5% of political subdivision’s voting age citizens are members of single language minority group and have limited-English proficiency, and • Illiteracy rate higher than national rate. • Provide bi-lingual information/assistance/material • DOJ enforces continuous compliance • No preclearance required of voting/registration law

  11. VRA: Section 203 covered jurisdictions-Formula 2: State • 5% of state’s voting age citizens and • More than 5% of political subdivision’s voting age citizens are each members of single language minority group and have limited-English proficiency. • Provide bi-lingual information/assistance/material • DOJ enforces continuous compliance • No preclearance required of voting/registration law

  12. VRA: Section 203 covered jurisdictions-Formula 3: Numerical • More than 10,000 of political subdivision’s voting age citizens are members of single language minority group and have limited-English proficiency, and • Illiteracy rate exceeds national rate. • Provide bi-lingual information/assistance/material • DOJ enforces continuous compliance • No preclearance required of voting/registration law

  13. VRA: Section 203 covered jurisdictions-Formula 4: Indian Reservation • Political subdivision has within its borders all or part of an Indian reservation with more than 5% of American Indian or Alaska Native citizens as members of single language minority and with limited-English proficiency, andilliteracy rate exceeds national rate. • Provide bi-lingual information/assistance/material • DOJ enforces continuous compliance • No preclearance required of voting/registration law

  14. VRA: Section 203 covered jurisdictions-Definitions • Limited-English proficiencyis defined as speaking or understanding English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process. • Illiteracy is defined as failure to complete 5th primary grade. • Indian reservationis defined as any area that is an American Indian or Alaska Native area as defined by the Census Bureau in the 1990 decennial census.

  15. Who is currently covered under VRA Section 203? • Broward County (Hispanic, Amer. Indian [Mikasuki/Seminole, Muskogee]) • Collier County*(Hispanic, Amer. Indian [Mikasuki/Seminole]) • Glades County (Amer. Indian [Mikasuki/Seminole]) • Hardee County *(Hispanic) • Hendry County*(Amer. Indian [Mikasuki/Seminole, Muskogee]) • Miami-Dade County (Amer. Indian [Mikasuki/Seminole Hispanic) • Orange County (Hispanic) *Also a covered jurisdiction under section 4(f)(4)

  16. Other counties covered by VRA bi-lingual requirements per consent or judicial order. • Osceola County: Consent order based on 2002 law suit for alleged discriminatory practices against limited-English proficient Hispanics. See ss. 2 & 208, VRA • Volusia County: Consent order based on 2009 lawsuit. Volusia could not condition right to vote on ability to read, write, understand or interpret only English for Puerto-Rican born residents who were educated in American Schools in PR where Spanish was dominant language. See s. 2, VRA & 42 U.S.C. S. 1973b(e)1

  17. Who will become a Section 203 covered jurisdiction?

  18. New Section 203 Covered Jurisdictions • When will new designations be made? Late summer/early fall 2011. U.S. Census Bureau has not completed data analysis of number of U.S. citizens for an ethnic group within the voting age population or the corresponding illiteracy rate for that group in a jurisdiction.

  19. New Section 203 Covered Jurisdictions • How will it be made? U.S. Census Bureau Director makes designations based on 2010 self-reported census survey data and publishes designations in federal register. • Who will notify me? U.S. Department of Justice/Civil Rights Division mails formal notices and details compliance requirements.

  20. New Section 203 Covered Jurisdictions • What to do in the meantime? If you think you might designated, start acting like one: • Review (if not already) early released census data. Note that available data only refers to voting age population by ethnic group for entire state and for each county (no breakout by citizenship status or literacy). See interactive map at: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/popmap/

  21. New Section 203 Covered Jurisdictions • Budget for possibility • Reach out to currently covered Section 203 counties* for guidance (e.g., how did they prepare for anticipated designation, for what did they budget, what do they now have to do, lessons learned, best practices, how to avoid DOJ issues, etc.) *Broward County (Hispanic /American Indian), Glades County(American Indian), Miami-Dade County (Hispanic/American Indian), and Orange County (Hispanic)

  22. New Section 203 Covered Jurisdictions • Review U.S. DOJ’s online guides: Language minority guidelines at: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/28cfr/55/28cfr55.pdf Plain language brochure on compliance at: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/sec_203/203_brochure.php • Conduct outreach to minority language community (social, fraternal and religious organizations, senior citizen groups, labor groups, educators, business leaders, etc.)

  23. New Section 203 Covered Jurisdictions • Be sure contracts for election services on your behalf include requirement to abide by bi-lingual requirement as if the service provider were you • Make election information available to the same extent and regularity in minority language as in English • Provide accurate translations (consult with trained translators but allow input from community members fluent in minority language for commonly used terms)

  24. New Section 203 Covered Jurisdictions • Provide language assistance (recruit, hire or assign election officials who are able to understand, speak, and if applicable, read and/or write fluently in minority language) at office and at polls • Designate a minority language coordinator

  25. Covered Jurisdictions –Bottom line • All election information, materials, and assistance that is available in English must also be available in the minority language. • DOJ will retain enforcement oversight for compliance with bi-lingual requirements of Section 4(f)(4) and Section 203 counties, or counties under consent orders for Section 2 VRA violations. • Only Section 4(f)(4) counties also require preclearance