The Nation: If You Can't Speak English, Good Luck Voting in Trump's America
The Nation - Limary Ruiz Torres, a 51-year-old accountant in Lawrenceville, Ga., was eager to vote in this year’s presidential primary. But when Torres, who was raised in Puerto Rico and speaks limited English, received her mail-in ballot application in April, she felt shut out. “I cannot read the absentee ballot request I received this week,” she later told a federal court. Ultimately, she and another plaintiff, Albert Mendez, sued the county and state. . .
In the past, this would be the type of case in which the Department of Justice’s civil rights division might intervene. “Taking advantage of this apparent loophole cynically flouts the legislative intent of the VRA language provisions—to ensure that limited-English-proficient voters can cast a fully informed ballot,” Susana Lorenzo-Giguere, who worked on language access cases for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and is now an attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, told me in an e-mail. . .
Without DOJ resources being deployed to protect voters, the situation has become akin to a game of “whack-a-mole,” Vattamala told me. “It’s back to pre-VRA where you’re just constantly litigating these voter suppression tactics in a lot of the formerly covered jurisdictions.… It’s too little too late in a lot of places.”. . .