Calhoun County put on notice by the ACLU for violating Voting Rights Act requirements

List of 16 Texas counties flagged for not providing voting info in correct Spanish

CALHOUN COUNTY, Texas- The ACLU of Texas sent demand letters to 16 counties in the state regarding potential violations of the Voting Rights Act by failing to provide voting and elections information written in correct Spanish.

The law currently requires any county with a Spanish speaking population of 10,000 or more to provide information about voting or elections in English and Spanish.

“Accurately translated materials are critical to protecting Texans’ right to vote,” said Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “We’re hoping that addressing the inaccuracies well in advance of the election will allow counties ample time to correct the misinformation. Counties need to do their part to protect the most fundamental right in our democracy.”

A statement from the ACLU states that the ACLU of Texas attorneys found a total of 69 counties had inadequate or inaccessible information in Spanish, had poor or misleading translations, or offered no voting information in Spanish at all.

The 16 top offenders will be getting letters this week urging them to hastily correct their errors. For example, Refugio County uses a translation tool that translates Party Chair to Presidente de “Fiesta” instead of “Partido.” Some counties also translated the term “runoff” election as election “leak” or “drainage.”

Calhoun County is also on this list. The Elections Administrator in Calhoun Count, Mary Ann Orta shared confirmed her office’s receipt of the letter from the ACLU. “As far as I see it basically says that we needed to provide some of the information in Spanish as well, and we’re going to make the corrections. They want to receive a response by October 2nd. And so we’re going to make the modifications,” said Orta.

Orta shared that the Calhoun County Elections Office needs to put information on their website in Spanish for those who may not speak or read English well.

The other counties that do not have pertinent information in Spanish – including voter identification information, key voting dates, voter registration information, and applications for ballot by mail and absentee voting – will be receiving letters soon thereafter.

The 16 counties who received letters today include: Atascosa, Bailey, Brooks, Calhoun, Floyd, Hockley, La Salle, Lynn, Martin, Reeves, Tarrant, Terry, Titus, Upton, Webb and Zavala.

Read more about the ACLU demand letters here.

Orta also shared that Calhoun County will be participating in drive-thru voting for the first time this coming fall election. The drive-thru will be set up at the Bauer Community Center where voters can stay in their vehicle to fill in the ballot and turn the ballot in a secrecy envelope.


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