Asian Americans Advancing Justice v. Padilla (Language Assistance)

Closed Case
Apr 17, 2018

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles filed suit against Secretary of State Alex Padilla demanding increased access to language assistance for limited English proficient voters in California. 

Secretary Padilla provided a directive to county election officials in December that would deprive thousands of California voters the language assistance to which they are entitled under state law. Some of the most severely impacted are voters who speak Spanish, Farsi, Arabic, Japanese, and Russian, but speakers of 34 different languages are affected.

State law says limited English proficient citizens should be encouraged to vote and requires appropriate efforts to minimize obstacles to participating in elections. The suit calls on Padilla to reissue his coverage determinations so they are consistent with California Elections Code.

On November 4, 2019, the California Court of Appeal ruled that Secretary of State Alex Padilla erred when he issued this directive. As a result, tens of thousands of California voters will have the language assistance to which they are entitled under state law.

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