Union County Commissioners running with support from the regular political organization cheated Spanish-speaking voters with limited English proficiency, according to a court order settling federal charges against the Column A political establishment.
As a result, Union County elections will be subject to monitoring by federal observers appointed pursuant to court order settling allegations that County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, the Board of Elections and other government officials violated the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against Spanish-speaking voters with limited English proficiency.
Union County government is entirely dominated by corporate Democrats, led by political boss Nicholas Scutari, the state Senate president, whose Column A candidates are facing a serious challenge from anti-establishment Democrats for Change contenders on Column B in the upcoming primary election.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced the proposed consent decree with Union County and its various elections officials to resolve a lawsuit filed under the Voting Rights Act, that alleged violations related to language assistance for Spanish-speaking voters with limited English proficiency and their right to obtain assistance from individuals of their choice.
The proposed consent decree aims to address the issues raised in the lawsuit and ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws.
Among other things, it requires Union County, Rajoppi’s office, and the Union County Board of Elections to implement measures to provide adequate language assistance and facilitate voter assistance in accordance with federal law.
The lawsuit alleged that the defendants failed to effectively implement a minority language program for Spanish-speaking citizens, resulting in inadequate language assistance during elections.
It further claimed that the defendants violated Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act by prohibiting assistors of choice from providing assistance to Spanish-speaking voters with limited English proficiency.
Under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, covered jurisdictions must provide election materials and assistance in the language of the applicable minority group, alongside English.
“The federal consent decree highlights why voters in Union County should reject the Column A candidates who are part of the problem,” said Column B contender Travis Amaker, who is running for Union County Commissioner.
Roselle school board commissioner Angela Alvey-Wimbush is challenging incumbent state Sen. Joe Cryan, while Charles Mitchell and Myrlene Thelot are going up against Assemblyman Reginald Atkins and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano.
Cryan, Atkins and Quijano are Column A candidates backed by the corporate-controlled regular political organization.
A slate of Union County Commission candidates on Column B are hoping to defeat incumbents running on Column A with support from the regular political organization.
LaTysha “Ty” Gaines, Travis Amaker, and Janet Vera Reynolds are mounting the Column B challenge, offering progressive voters an alternative to the political establishment’s incumbent members of the Union County Board of Commissioners, who appear on Column A.
The mayoral race in Roselle features former Assemblyman Jamel Holley, who previously served as mayor and council president, on Column B challenging incumbent Mayor Donald Shaw, an Elizabeth homeowner who is on Column A.
Holley’s Column B running mates are Third Ward Councilwoman Cynthia Johnson and Stan Cunningham, the president of the local Pop Warner Football program who is seeking election to First Ward council seat.
The consent decree also addresses the defendants’ obligations under Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act, which grants voters who require assistance the right to receive help from a person of their choice.
The proposed agreement prohibits the defendants from impeding voters’ access to assistance and requires clear instructions to election workers regarding their duty to permit voters to receive assistance from individuals other than those explicitly excluded by Section 208.
If approved by the court, the consent decree will serve as a binding agreement between the parties involved and establish a framework for remedying the alleged violations. The Department of Justice’s involvement in the case reflects its commitment to safeguarding voting rights and ensuring equal access to the electoral process for all eligible voters.
The proposed settlement signals a step towards resolving the voting rights issues in Union County, promoting inclusivity, and protecting the rights of Spanish-speaking voters with limited English proficiency.
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