The civil rights group said Census data shows nearly 14,000 citizens are of voting age and are fluent in Spanish, but have limited English proficiency.
Citizens educated in Spanish in Puerto Rico are also eligible to receive Spanish-language ballot applications statewide, attorneys said.
Gwinnett leaders considered sending absentee ballot applications to residents en masse, at the request of the county board of elections. Ultimately, county commissioners decided earlier this month not to do so. Instead, they are directing residents to use the state’s online portal to apply for absentee ballots.
John Powers, an attorney for the Lawyers' Committee, said the county’s decision not to send ballot applications, coupled with the fact that the state’s materials aren’t in Spanish, leaves residents with limited English proficiency “in the lurch.”
“We’re definitely concerned,” he said.
The filing would amend a previous lawsuit filed on behalf of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Atlanta, New Georgia Project, and Common Cause. But the change needs to be approved by Judge William M. Ray II, the federal judge who is hearing the case.
Gwinnett County and the state have filed motions to dismiss the original case. A spokesperson for Gwinnett said the county doesn’t comment on pending litigation, while Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said the office had not received the new filings.
Powers said his group asked that office if they would consent to making materials accessible in Spanish and they did not. He said limiting access to only English suppresses voter turnout.