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August 31, 2012 Thomas E. Perez Assistant Attorney General U.S.

Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington DC 20530-0001 Chris Herren Chief, Voting Section Civil Rights Division Room 7254 NWB U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington DC 20530

RE: VOTING RIGHTS ACT VIOLATIONS IN SPRINGFIELD, MA; REQUEST FOR DOJ RESULTS, FINDINGS, OR STATEMENT

Dear Mr. Perez and Mr. Herren, SUMMARY This letter is in reference to the U. S. Department of Justices investigation of Voting Rights Act violations in Springfield, MA which began in November 2011. A coalition of community leaders and experts have invested significant effort into this investigation, and based on regular communication with the DOJ attorney assigned to this case, we believe a significant amount of evidence has been systematically collected by DOJ and formally reported internally. As we have no reason to believe, at this point, that there will be any improvements in Springfield for this years election season, this coalition respectfully requests that the DOJ conclude its investigation with some type of announcement of findings or action steps. We understand the historic demands on the DOJ right now, and we profoundly appreciate the DOJs diligent work in Springfield thus far and nationally. But we also strongly feel that this investigation deserves some type of closure or follow up in time to ensure rights are protected during the upcoming elections.

BACKGROUND This investigation was a response to a formal appeal to the DOJ from a coalition of community leaders and experts including: Ward 1 City Councilor Zaida Luna Springfield NAACP President Reverend Talbert Swan The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights ACLU of Massachusetts.

Copies of the original appeals (and attachments) from these people/organizations to the DOJ are enclosed here. In response to this appeal, the DOJ sent a team to monitor the general municipal election on November 8, 2011 in Springfield. Based on regular contact with a DOJ attorney, we understand that the DOJs scope of work included three things: 1) Monitoring compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act on election day (Nov. 8); 2) Investigating violations of the Federal Voting Rights Act during the preliminary election on September 20, 2011; 3) Investigating compliance with the 2006 settlement order resulting from the DOJs legal action against the City in 2006 for violation of the Voting Rights Act We understand that the DOJ collected a significant amount of evidence via direct observation and in-person discussions at polling places; interaction with the city solicitor, election commissioner, and other city hall employees; and follow-up phone interviews with voters. The Federal Voting Act Violations we are aware of based on our own observations and evidence provided to us by voters include: Polling places not opening on time No bilingual poll workers at some polling places City hall providing inaccurate poll hours Voters being systematically denied provisional ballots when problems arise (even when they are specifically requested) ID being required when it should not be And in at least one case, a voter being handed a ballot with the incumbent mayors name already checked off (a copy of the exact ballot is enclosed).

Related to the 2006 settlement order, we have provided evidence to the DOJ that in October 2011 the City was out of compliance with the settlement order in several areas.

Furthermore, we provided evidence to the DOJ that there are several elements of the order that the City was never in compliance with, and that the City may have misrepresented their compliance status to the DOJ. Finally, we are also motivated by egregious and persistent de facto voter participation inequality in Springfield: How many registered voters cast ballots? Election Ward 3 Ward 7 (83% minority) (19% minority) 2011 11% 34% 2010 15% 51% 2009 12% 39% 2007 14% 43%

We have already shared the details and documentation related to all of these issues with the DOJ. We do not know what additional issues the DOJ itself has discovered. CONCLUSION The members of this coalition of community leaders and experts respectfully request that the DOJ conclude its investigation with some type of public announcement of findings or action steps, and that it do so in time to help ensure rights are protected during the upcoming elections. Thank you again for your diligent effort. We remain available to help in any way we can. Yours, Zaida Luna Ward 1 City Councilor Springfield, MA 413-433-8816 Reverend Talbert W. Swan, II President, Springfield Branch NAACP Springfield, MA 413-221-2647 talbertswan@naacpspringfield.org Sarah Wunsch, Staff Attorney ACLU of Massachusetts 211 Congress Street, 3rd Floor

Boston, MA 02110 617-482-3170, ext. 323 (fax) 617-451-0009 swunsch@aclum.org Rahsaan D. Hall, Deputy Director Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice Boston 294 Washington St. #443 Boston, MA 02108 (617) 988-0608 Fax (617) 482-4392 rhall@lawyerscom.org Sasha Kopf, Staff Attorney Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice Boston 294 Washington St. #443 Boston, MA 02108 (617) 988-0602 Fax (617) 482-4392 skopf@lawyerscom.org William C. Newman, Director Western Regional Legal Office ACLU of Massachusetts 39 Main Street, Suite 8 Northampton, MA 01060 (413) 584-7331 x 15 fax (413) 568-7076 newman@LNN-law.com

CC: Sharon L. Tucker, Attorney-Advisor, Office for Civil Rights, Office of Justice Programs, United States Department of Justice Martha Coakley Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Jonathan Miller, Chief, Civil Rights Division Maura Healey, Chief, Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau William F. Galvin Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Michelle Tassinari, Election Division Legal Counsel