LatinoJustice PRLDEF Asks DOJ to Investigate NYC Board of Elections Handling of District 13 Congressional Primary Race

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2, 2012
Contact: John Garcia, Director of Communications (212) 739-7581 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org

LatinoJustice PRLDEF has contacted the U.S. Department of Justice and requested that it investigate the New York City Board of Election’s handling of the race between Rep. Charles Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat in Congressional District 13.

Incumbent Rangel and challenger Espaillat were the two main candidates to represent the district, which stretches from El Barrio, through Harlem, up to Washington Heights and a small part of the Bronx.

LatinoJustice has received reports that long-time Spanish-speaking voters in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx who were unable to receive Spanish-language assistance when reporting to their polling site and were either turned away from the polling site, or relegated to voting by affidavit ballot.

There are other reports that several long-time bilingual polling workers who had worked at polling sites in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx over the years were reassigned to other polling sites at the “last minute.” This apparently contributed to a dearth of available bilingual poll workers in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.

LatinoJustice sent a letter to the DOJ requesting that it look into the handling of bilingual assistance for voters and possible violations of Section 203 and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

“This operation raises concern that Latino voters have been disenfranchised from the election process and it would be best to bring in an outside investigator to get to the bottom on this mess,” said Juan Cartagena, President of and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

On Monday, a state Supreme Court judge heard claims made by the Espaillat campaign that votes were tallied improperly by the board of elections.


You can read the letter here.

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