Polk County Court rules Iowa voters should have access to non-English voting materials in historic victory for Latino civil rights organization.
Des Moines, Iowa – A Polk County District Court rules that Iowa’s “English-only” law doesn’t apply to voting materials in a decision released Wednesday. The Court granted the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Iowa’s motion for summary judgment and dissolved the King v. Mauro injunction which prevented state and local officials from providing voting materials in any language but English.
In its decision, among other issues, the Court addressed the following: “Is voting a right guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America or the Constitution of the State of Iowa? If so, are voting materials a use of language that is required by or necessary to secure the right to vote? The Court finds that the answer to both of these questions is an unequivocal ‘yes.’”
“We are thankful and elated with the Court’s decision that language should not be used as a barrier to the constitutional right to vote made in Polk County today,” said Joe Henry, Political Director for LULAC Iowa. “Today’s ruling lifts the injunction which has held us hostage since 2008. We can now depend on our state and local election officials to do the right thing by providing non-English voting materials.”
“The decision in LULAC of Iowa vs Paul Pate et al. marks a historic win for Iowans and the fundamental right to vote. I applaud the 5th Judicial District of Iowa in its application of the law to the facts before the court,” said Jazmin Newton, LULAC Iowa State Director. “Democracy wins. I am optimistic for our future and look forward to working with all Iowans to ensure they are civically engaged and exercising their right to vote without unnecessary obstacles.”
There is history behind the decision signed by Hon. Scott D. Rosenberg which states that Iowa has a long history of immigrants, including those that aren’t fluent in English. The ruling noted that in 1857 the Constitutional Convention of the State of Iowa “Agreed to commission the translation of the Iowa Constitution into German and the printing of three thousand copies for distribution among the state’s German immigrants.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/