DLA Piper is pleased to announce that the parties to the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission v. San Juan County, Utah have reached a positive settlement agreement regarding plaintiffs' claims that San Juan County did not provide effective language assistance to Navajo-speaking voters and that Navajo voters had unequal voting opportunities in San Juan County. DLA Piper represented the plaintiffs on a pro bono basis along with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU of Utah, the ACLU Voting Rights Project and attorney Maya Kane.
"I speak for the whole DLA Piper team when I say we are proud to help Navajo voters gain easier access to the polls," said Raymond Williams, a partner based in the Philadelphia office. "The ability to vote is one some Americans may take for granted. For years, Navajo voters – many of whom live in remote areas and do not speak English – have been fighting for the same ability. With this settlement, they are one step closer."
In the settlement agreement, San Juan County agreed to implement various measures aimed at providing meaningful and effective language assistance and to create equal opportunities for Navajo voters. These measures will begin during the 2018 elections and will include:
- Providing in-person voter assistance, including in the Navajo language, at several locations on the Navajo reservation during the 28 days before every election.
- Maintaining three polling places on the Navajo reservation for Election Day voting, which will include Navajo language assistance.
- Taking various steps to ensure quality interpretation of election information and materials into the Navajo language.
The DLA Piper team was led by partner Raymond Williams (Philadelphia), associates Lauren Wilchek, Brenna Kelly, Jae Kim (all Philadelphia), Nicole Orjiakor (Los Angeles) and Harrison Carpenter (Wilmington).