|Delgado v Galvin|
On May 15, 2012, Project Vote and its partner voting rights groups filed this lawsuit in Boston, Massachusetts. They charge the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) with violating their federally mandated responsibilities pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) to offer all public assistance clients the opportunity to register to vote.
Plaintiffs include Bethzaida Delgado, a Massachusetts resident and DTA client who was not provided the opportunity to register to vote, NAACP New England Area Conference (NAACP-NEAC), and New England United for Justice (NEU4J). They are represented by attorneys from Project Vote, Dēmos, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, as well as the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP.
The complaint, filed in federal district court, alleges that the Commonwealth is not complying with Section 7 of the NVRA because it is failing to offer voter registration to all Massachusetts citizens who apply DTA offices for public assistance, including applicants for Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Medicaid. The complaint cites evidence that the Commonwealth has not complied with the NVRA on a widespread basis for years. By violating this law, Massachusetts severely limits opportunities its low-income residents have to register to vote.
On July 5, 2012, the parties reached an interim agreement that outlined immediate steps to be taken by the Commonwealth while the parties continued settlement negotiations. Those steps included: mailing voter registration applications to clients who may have been denied the opportunity to register; conducting community voter registration outreach; broadcasting public service announcements regarding the availability of registration forms and assistance; and providing training, modifying procedures, and increasing oversight regarding voter registration services. The parties failed to reach a settlement by December 31, 2012, and under the terms of the interim agreement, litigation resumed. The parties are currently in discovery.
Complaint. May 15, 2012
More information on interim settlement agreement here.
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