A federal judge issued an order to the State of Alaska in a voting rights case Monday. In her 8-page order, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason said the state must take additional steps to provide voting materials to Alaska Natives with limited English.
Cori Mills is a spokesperson for the State of Alaska. She says the state is committed to doing everything that was put forth in the judge’s order.
The lawsuit brought by several Native villages alleged that the state has failed to provide accurate, complete translations of voting materials in Yup’ik and Gwich’in. The state argued it had taken reasonable steps.
Nathalie Landreth is an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund or NARF, who argued the case on behalf of the plaintiffs. She says the gist of the 21-point order is that the election information that English-speaking people are receiving must be made available in Yup’ik, and it’s dialects and in Gwich’in.
That includes all the radio announcements about deadlines that one would ordinarily hear on the radio, information about all the ballot measures and all the information about judges. Landreth says the order also mandates the entire official election pamphlet that is printed in English must be available in Yup’ik:
All of this has to happen on a tight timeline before the November election. The order includes deadlines, some as early as this Friday.