- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

NAPA, Calif. (AP) - Napa County and the Justice Department reached an agreement to ensure the county provides bilingual election materials and information in Spanish to voters, authorities announced Wednesday.

Under the agreement, the county will distribute bilingual election-related materials and announcements. It will also ensure that Spanish-speaking election workers are available at all polling places and voter assistance centers and that a Spanish language elections coordinator and a Spanish language advisory council are appointed, the Justice Department said.

The agreement comes after the Justice Department informed Napa County in April that it would file a lawsuit if the county didn’t comply with the Voting Rights Act after reminding it several times since 2011 of its obligations to provide bilingual election materials and information in Spanish to voters, the department said.

Napa County Registrar of Voters John Tuteur said the county had been providing ballots in either English or Spanish, but it will switch to dual-language ballots as of November at the request of the Department of Justice.

Another concern raised by federal officials was the lack of bilingual poll workers, he said.

“For the June election, I believe we will have bilingual poll workers at all our locations, including our central office, and we will continue to try to achieve that 100 percent for the rest of 2016 and the 2018 election cycles, which are covered by the agreement,” Tuteur said.

Tuteur said finding bilingual volunteers to work at the polls has been a challenge, but the county recently came up with a plan to allow county workers to volunteer while earning their salary. “The DOJ and I share the goal of making sure our Spanish language community is fully involved in the election process,” he said.

According to the 2010 Census, there are 86,960 voting-age citizens in Napa and of those 4,510 speak limited English.

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