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TuesdayFebruary 28, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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ACLU Wants Court to Strike Down ALL of Fremont, Nebraska’s Immigration Law

ACLU Wants Court to Strike Down ALL of Fremont, Nebraska’s Immigration Law

Photo: ACLU to Appeal Fremont Immigration Bill

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska announced Tuesday that it will appeal the decision of a federal judge to overturn only some parts of an anti-immigrant municipal ordinance adopted by the city of Fremont.

Ordinance 5165 was approved in June 2010 with 57 percent of the votes and requires people who want to rent houses or work in Fremont to allow their immigration documents to be verified. The measure has never entered into force.

On Feb. 20, in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other organizations, U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp eliminated from the ordinance the article that would have permitted municipal officials to revoke renter’s licenses obtained by undocumented immigrants.

But the judge left intact the article that requires that potential renters provide proof of U.S. citizenship or their legal immigration situation and to pay $5 for a certificate giving them the right to rent.

“We were gratified by the judge’s decision that key portions of the ordinance violated federal law and the Constitution,” Jennifer Chang Newell, a staff attorney at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said Tuesday.

“We are appealing the decision only because we believe the remainder of the ordinance still imposes an illegal and unfair burden on our clients,” she said.

The ACLU is representing five people who were intending to rent homes in Fremont, a city of about 26,000 northwest of Omaha, as well as two rental property owners and two local employees.

The case will now to go to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“While the courts are still reviewing this problematic and un-American law, we’ve asked the City Council to hold off from enforcement,” ACLU Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller said. “The city has voluntarily suspended the ordinance during the first phase of the lawsuit and we’ve asked them to continue doing so.”

The Fremont City Council on Tuesday evening behind closed doors will discuss whether it will implement Ordinance 5165 with the modifications established by Judge Smith Camp or if it will delay its entry into force while the appeal is under way.

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A Number of Young Latinos Running for State Office Positions in Colorado

A Number of Young Latinos Running for State Office Positions in Colorado

Photo: A Number of Young Latinos Running for State Office Positions in Colorado

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A group of young Colorado Hispanics in this year’s elections will seek to win seats in the state legislature, thereby transforming the demographic growth of the Latino community into political power on the state level.

The Latino politicos, all Democrats and most of them under 30, have launched their respective campaigns jointly.

“We’re a group ... And we hope that upon presenting ourselves all together and simultaneously in the political arena everyone will accept us also,” Dominick Moreno, a 28-year-old councilman in Commerce City, told Efe.

Moreno said that when he was elected as a councilman four years ago, becoming Colorado’s youngest officeholder, he was still “rather naive” about the way government works and at that time lacked the ability to form alliances to obtain support for his initiatives.

But now, four years later, Moreno feels that he and colleagues like Jessie Ulibarri and Chris Lopez Ramirez have developed “enough relationships to be able to have our proposals approved and to bring our experience at the local level to the state level.”

Moreno said that veteran Hispanic lawmakers helped him and the other young politicos to “stop being our own worst critics” and to be ready to assume responsibilities at a higher level than where they currently serve.

“Decisions about creation of jobs, economic development and educational reform are made at the state level. So, that’s where we want to be. But we’re people from the neighborhood. We grew up there and live there. Therefore, we want to create businesses and foster the wellbeing of our own people,” Moreno said.

In fact, he said, experiencing in person the “unequal system in Colorado that makes beautiful families lack the basic necessities” motivated him to launch his candidacy for councilman four years ago and now to run for the state House of Representatives.

“It sincerely pleases me that Dominick could work for me during my first session in the Colorado legislature. He’s an intelligent person who helped me a lot,” commented incumbent state legislator Crisanta Duran.

Currently, just eight of the 101 members of the Colorado state legislature are Hispanics, despite the fact that 20 percent of the state’s 5.1 million residents are Latinos.

Ulibarri, who also lives in Commerce City, agreed with Moreno that the state “needs politicians who are able to create an economy that benefits everyone in Colorado.”

The 30-year-old recalled that he had to work three jobs to pay his tuition as a full-time student at the University of Colorado.

“People who work hard should be respected. When I get to the legislature, I’ll try to avoid new cuts in the educational budget. My experience paying for my university studies is a lesson that has marked me for the rest of my life,” said Ulibarri, a member of the Colorado Democratic Party’s governing body, or Central Committee, and founder of the Colorado Latino Forum.

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Cuban Cigar Sales Up 9 Percent Internationally

Cuban Cigar Sales Up 9 Percent Internationally

Photo: International sales of Cuban cigars up 9 percent

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International sales of luxurious Cuban cigars climbed 9 percent in 2011 with revenues of $401 million following an upturn in the market, executives of Habanos S.A. said Monday.

On the opening day of Cuba’s 14th Cigar Festival, organizers stressed how important these results are amid the economic woes afflicting their main European markets and the spread of restrictions on smoking.

Habanos S.A., founded in 1994, is a mixed company with equal participation by state-owned Cubatabaco and the Spanish corporation Altadis, a subsidiary of the Imperial Tobacco Group PLC.

The company’s Vice President for Development Javier Terres and Marketing Director Ana Lopez told a press conference that the corporation has held onto its 80-percent share of the international market for hand-rolled cigars.

Habanos currently purveys such exclusive brands as Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey, H. Upmann and Punch to 150 countries.

Its leading markets are Spain, France, China, Germany, Switzerland, Lebanon, Cuba, Greece and the United Arab Emirates.

Some 53 percent of sales are in western Europe, followed by the Americas with 15 percent and the Asia-Pacific region representing 13 percent.

Habanos executives said that in seeking to maintain sales, the company is trying to adapt to the new circumstances, so that smokers can “identify” where to find a quality Cuban cigar and shorter cigars are being designed for places where smoking is restricted.

Terres said that China is Asia’s most promising market with double the sales it had three years ago.

As for knock-offs of its star products such as Cohiba, Lopez said the company is trying “to limit to the maximum” illicit activities by means of “systematic tracking,” which in 2010 allowed it to detect more than 10,000 fakes under Cuban brand names.

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Don Omar, Pitbull, lead Billboard Latin Nominations

Don Omar, Pitbull, lead Billboard Latin Nominations

Photo: Latin Billboards Awards

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Don Omar, Pitbull, Prince Royce, Mana, Romeo Santos and Shakira are the artists with the most nominations for the 2012 Billboard Latin Music Awards, the Telemundo network announced Tuesday on its morning show “Levantate.”

Topping the list is reggaeton sensation Don Omar vying for 16 prizes in 14 categories, including Songs Artist of the Year, Male; Latin Rhythm Albums Artist of the Year, Solo; and Social Artist of the Year.

To add a dash of irony to the event, two of Don Omar’s hits - “Taboo” and “Danza Kuduro,” the latter a collaboration with Lucenzo - are competing against each other for Song of the Year.

Rapper Pitbull is in the running for 14 prizes in 12 categories, including Songs Artist of the Year, Male and Latin Pop Songs Artist of the Year, Solo. And his joint effort with Jennifer Lopez, “Ven a Bailar” (Come Dance) is contending for Song of the Year.

For his part, Prince Royce, winner of the 2011 Billboard Prize for Latin Music as Latin Artist of the Year, Debut, is competing in 12 categories including Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

The awards ceremony, to be transmitted live by Telemundo on April 26 from Miami’s BankUnited Center, will feature performances by Daddy Yankee, Juanes, Jenni Rivera and more.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Goes to Police After Neighbor Tattoos Her Underage Daughter

LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Goes to Police After Neighbor Tattoos Her Underage Daughter

Photo: Mother Goes to Police After Neighbor Tattoos Her Underage Daughter

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A Texas teenager liked the iconic Sanrio character Hello Kitty so much that she had it tattooed on her body by an unlicensed, tattooing neighbor.

Olga Losoya of Olmito, TX, the unidentified teen girl’s mother, said she was terrified when she learned her daughter had gotten a tattoo that could easily have gotten infected.

The neighbor, 19-year-old Rudy Garay, is said to have tattooed the 15-year-old girl in his home, using homemade tattoo equipment. He does not have license to tattoo, though even if he did he would still have broken the law, as Texas law requires that parental consent be given to tattoo an underage person.

The girl showed said he planned to pay Garay $10 for the tattoo.

Garay was instead arrested after Losoya called the police.

Worried for her daughter’s health, Losoya took the girl to see a doctor. While the physician did not find any signs of infection, Losoya was told to bring her back for a check up in a few months.

Garay was arrested and given $500 bonds for each violation of the state’s tattoo regulations.


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Lionel Messi Scores with Impressive Accuracy Against Atletico (VIDEO)

Lionel Messi Scores with Impressive Accuracy Against Atletico (VIDEO)

Photo: Lionel Messi Scores with Impressive Accuracy Against Atletico

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There’s a reason he’s the best paid player in history.

Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi hit his target with stunning accuracy Sunday during a match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

ImageWith the teams tied at 1-1 in the 81st minute, Messi landed a free kick in the upper corner of the Atletico net.

He and Barcelona would hold on to their lead to win 2-1.

Check out the goal below.


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LATINO BLOTTER: Drunk Driver Plows into Police While They Investigate Body in Road

LATINO BLOTTER: Drunk Driver Plows into Police While They Investigate Body in Road

Photo: Drunk Driver Thomas Montano Plows into Police While They Investigate Body in Road

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A man in New Mexico was taken in to custody after police say he slammed into a fire truck at the site of an investigation.

Bernalillo County deputies were investigating a body they found in the middle of the road Friday when drunk driver Thomas Montano came plowing onto the scene.

At around 2:30 a.m., police were in the process of identifying the body of a 59-year-old man found in the street when Montano is said to have sideswiped a fire truck, hit a guardrail and slammed into an ambulance while behind the wheel of Honda Accord. The impact was so strong that the ambulance was facing the opposite direction after it was hit. As the car plowed through the emergency crews, officers were running and jumping out of the way, one sustaining a hip injury.

Montano only made things worse for himself when tried to leave the scene of the accident on foot. Once caught, Montano reportedly refused to take a breathalyzer.

The ABQ Journal reported that the 27-year-old was arrested on suspicion of aggravated DUI, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, reckless driving and failure to maintain his lane.

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Cuban Telenovela Star William Levy to Shake His Stuff on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Cuban Telenovela Star William Levy to Shake His Stuff on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Photo: Cuban Telenovela Star William Levy to Shake His Stuff on 'Dancing With the Stars'

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USA Today is reporting that William Levy is among those who will be shakin’ their things on the 14th season of Dancing with the Stars.

The Cuban telenovela star will be facing off against fellow actors Roshon Fegan, Melissa Gilbert, Jack Wagner, and Jaleel White, as well as the Green Bay Packers’ Donald Driver and tennis superstar Martina Navratilova. Singers Gavin DeGraw, Katherine Jenkins, and Gladys Knight will also be dancing towards the mirror-ball trophy. Rounded out the pack are television personalities Maria Menounos and Sherri Shepherd.

It appears 31-year-old Levy may be looking to be the next Latino crossover, as his first introduction to an English-speaking audience was as Antonio of VH1’s Single Ladies.

DWTS’s Season 14 is scheduled to premiere on March 19th at 8 p.m. ET/PT, but for those that can’t wait that long to see the man who graced the cover of People en Español’s Sexiest Men of the Year issue, you can always watch him in the telenovelas Triunfo del Amor and Cuidado con el Angel.

Will Levy be the second Latino in a row to win DWTS? Last year war veteran-turned actor J.R. Martinez won the trophy after continuously impressing both viewers and the judges.

Read more by HS News Staff →

UPDATE: Carnival Cruise Passengers are Robbed in Mexico and Another Ship Adrift is in Italy

UPDATE: Carnival Cruise Passengers are Robbed in Mexico and Another Ship Adrift is in Italy

Photo: Cruise Ship Adrift in Italy Just Days After Carnival Cruise Passengers are Robbed in Mexico

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UPDATE:
Carnival Cruise LInes Inc. has announced it is suspending all on-shore nature excursions in Puerto Vallarta, MX after 22 passengers were robbed while heading back to their ship from a jungle tour in El Nogalito.

Also, the Costa Allegra, which was adrift off the coast of Italy after a fire took out the engines, is currently being towed to the Seychelles Islands by Seychelles Port Authority. The ship is expected to reach Mahe, a group of islands off the northeast coast of Madagascar, sometime in the morning of March 1.

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A group of Carnival Cruise passengers are understandably shaken after armed men robbed them while they were heading back to the ship from a nature hike in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Hooded gunmen reportedly boarded the guests’ bus and stole money and belongings of 22 passengers of the Carnival Splendor cruise ship.

As the bus returned from a jungle trail tour in El Nogalito around 5 p.m., the assailants commandeered the bus, stole the passengers’ belongings and ran off the bus, heading towards the countryside.

Puerto Vallarta Mayor Salvador Gonzalez Resendiz and other local officials say the proper protocol was not followed. He said the tours are only to be given in the morning and guests are to be escorted by a security guard or a police officer.

Carnival Cruises says it is working with the passengers to reimburse them for their stolen items and to assist them with passport issues.

Though the ongoing drug war in Mexico has caused for cruise lines to cancel stops at some locations, only one had chosen to pull out of Puerto Vallarta and that was Princess Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines. Princess was set to return to Puerto Vallarta later this month.

Monday morning, a ship from Carnival’s Italian subsidiary Costa Cruises, the Costa Allegra, has now gone adrift near the Seychelle Islands in the Indian Ocean, the Italian coast guard said.

A fire reportedly broke out on the Costa Allegra, though all passengers and crew members are said to be “in good health and were informed promptly of the situation.”

Costa Cruises is also responsible for the ill-fated cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground on Italy’s western coast. In the end, 32 people were killed. An investigation into that incident is ongoing.

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State Department to Host First Twitter Briefing in Spanish

State Department to Host First Twitter Briefing in Spanish

Photo: State Dept Twitters in Spanish

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On Thursday, March 1, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of State will host its first-ever Spanish-language Twitter Briefing.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer will take questions submitted to the Department’s official Spanish-language Twitter feed @USAenEspanol. Questions can be submitted starting today to @USAenEspanol, using hashtag #AskState.

Acting Assistant Secretary Hammer will answer the questions in Spanish from the podium in the Department’s press briefing room.

@USAenEspanol is one of the Department’s 11 official Twitter accounts. Others include @StateDept (English), @USAbilAraby (Arabic), @USA_Zhongwen (Chinese), @USAdarFarsi (Farsi), @USAenFrancais (French), @USAHindiMein (Hindi), @USAemPortugues (Portuguese), @USApoRusski (Russian), @ABDTurk (Turkish), and @USAUrdu (Urdu).

These social media accounts are conduits for the U.S. Department of State to inform and engage individuals around the world on American foreign policy issues.

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Colombian Driver Juan Pablo Montoya Crashes into Jet Dryer at Daytona 500 (VIDEO)

Colombian Driver Juan Pablo Montoya Crashes into Jet Dryer at Daytona 500 (VIDEO)

Photo: Colombian Driver Juan Pablo Montoya Crashes into Jet Dryer at Daytona 500

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Though he walked away from NASCAR‘s Daytona 500 in 36th place, driver Juan Pablo Montoya is lucky he got to walk away at all.

With just about 40 laps remaining, a caution allowed the lead-lap cars to made a pit stop. Montoya reportedly told his crew he was feeling a lot of vibration in his car, but after they checked it out, they found nothing and sent him back on the track.

Montoya says the vibration grew worse and he eventually lost control of his car and wound up slamming into a safety truck carrying a jet dryer used to dry the track after ran delayed the race for hours. Along with the jet dryer was about 200 gallons of kerosene.

ImageAs soon as his car slammed into the safety vehicle, the fuel caught fire and announcers and those watching were scrambling to figure out what happened.

“I wasn’t even going that fast,” Montoya told the Los Angeles Times. “It just felt really strange, and as I was talking in the radio, the car just took a right.”

Both Montoya and the driver of the truck were able to escape and were medically cleared. The Colombian driver said he was a bit sore but was looking ahead to the next race, adding that “TV makes it look worse.”

He was even joking about it a bit with reporters, saying, ““I mean, I’ve hit a lot of things, but a jet dryer?”

It was determined that the crash was caused a rear suspension mechanical malfunction.


See Montoya speak with reporters here.


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Documentary Lambasts Mexico’s Failing School System (VIDEO)

Documentary Lambasts Mexico’s Failing School System (VIDEO)

Photo: De Panzazo Documentary Blasts Mexico Public Schools

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Mexican filmmaker, Juan Carlos Rulfo, and journalist, Carlos Loret de Mola, have joined forces to show México, as well as the world, the current state of their school system.  ‘¡De Panzazo!’ the Spanish equivalent to the English saying, ‘barely passing,’ offers a glimpse into the failing Mexican education system.  It’s a system in which 8 out of 10 students in secondary school enter without the ability to multiply and only 60% of students will graduate. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the movie earned an impressive $870,000 on its opening weekend in Mexico City beating out Oscar winner ‘The Artist.

Ranked among the 30 OECD, or Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, countries at a dismal #30, Mexican students spend on average only 4.5 hours per day in the classroom.  The documentary, very critical of the teachers unions, especially its leader since 1989, Elba Esther Gordillo, discusses the lack of training as well as evaluations among the nation’s teachers. 

In México, teachers are not evaluated. It is possible to earn a teaching position after majoring in education, yet some have been known to ‘inherit’ their position from a family member that previously taught.  Others have ‘purchased’ a position within a school. 

The documentary will be a wakeup call to many Mexican families. According to a 2007 survey they believed that the school system was doing either a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ job educating their children.  The government also shows much faith in the system providing the schools with 20% of their public funds. 

Yet, as a result of the many options for entering the field of teaching in México, it is quite possible according to the documentary, that the government may not have an exact count of just how many ‘teachers’ are on the payroll.


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Demian Bichir Lost the Oscar but Gets a ‘Corrido’ Ballad (Video)

Mexican actor Demian Bichir might have lost the Best Actor Oscar to a Frenchman but he got another honor, his own ‘corrido’ ballad.  Typically reserved for those on the other side of the law and not for those in front of the camera, a corrido tells the woes of ones life. 

This corrido is meant to honor Bichir’s role as the long-suffering, undocumented gardener, Carlos Galindo, in the movie ‘A Better Life’.  The corrido wishes for a better life for all Latinos working in the U.S. and hopes that Bichir serves as an example of what can be done with dedication and hard work, according to the YouTube video page.


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New Flu Virus Discovered in Guatemalan Fruit Bats

New Flu Virus Discovered in Guatemalan Fruit Bats

Photo: Guatemala Fruit Bat Source New Flu Virus

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A new influenza A virus discovered in fruit bats in Guatemala does not appear to present a current threat to humans, but should be studied as a potential source for human influenza, according to scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who worked with University of the Valley of Guatemala.

The study was published yesterday in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’.

“This is the first time an influenza virus has been identified in bats, but in its current form the virus is not a human health issue,” said Dr. Suxiang Tong, team lead of the Pathogen Discovery Program and lead author of the study.  “The study is important because the research has identified a new animal species that may act as a source of flu viruses.”

For the bat influenza virus to infect humans, it would need to obtain some genetic properties of human influenza viruses. This can occur in nature through a process called reassortment. Reassortment occurs when two or more influenza viruses infect a single host cell, which allows the viruses to swap genetic information.

“Fortunately, initial laboratory testing suggests the new virus would need to undergo significant changes to become capable of infecting and spreading easily among humans,” said Dr. Ruben Donis, of the CDC’s Influenza Division and a study co–author.  “A different animal such as a pig, horse or dog would need to be capable of being infected with both this new bat influenza virus and human influenza viruses for reassortment to occur.”

Bat influenza viruses are known only to infect little yellow–shouldered bats, which are common in Central and South America and are not native to the United States.

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WATCH Cristiano Ronaldo’s Impressive Goal Against Rayo Vallecano (VIDEO)

WATCH Cristiano Ronaldo’s Impressive Goal Against Rayo Vallecano (VIDEO)

Photo: Cristiano Ronaldo scores an impressive goal against Rayo Vallecano

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In an impressive show of skill, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo scored a back heel goal against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

That goal would win the match, as it ended 1-0 in favor of Real Madrid.

The 27-year-old later Portuguese striker told reporters, “A backheel is always different. It was a great goal but I’m not sure if it was the best of my career—I have to see it again on TV. The most important thing is the victory and the points.”


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Colfax County, Nebraska Agrees to Assure Rights of Its Spanish-speaking Voters

Colfax County, Nebraska Agrees to Assure Rights of Its Spanish-speaking Voters

Photo: Voters Rights Spanish-Speakers

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The Justice Department announced today an agreement with Colfax County, Neb., that requires the county to provide election materials and information in Spanish in order to comply with provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

The consent decree with Colfax County, which must still be approved by the federal District Court in Nebraska, provides for a comprehensive language assistance program for Spanish-speaking limited English proficient voters, including the dissemination of election-related materials and information in Spanish.

The consent decree requires the presence of trained bilingual election officials in all polling places in the city of Schuyler, Neb., on Election Day, and that all Spanish-language signage be displayed as prominently as the English-language signage at those polling places.  As required under the consent decree, Colfax County has already hired a bilingual elections coordinator to assist the county clerk in implementing the Spanish language elections program. 

The county must also establish an advisory group of interested community members and organizations to assist the county in determining how to most effectively provide election materials, information and assistance to Spanish-speaking voters.  The consent decree further provides that federal observers may monitor Election Day activities in polling places in Schuyler.

The Voting Rights Act requires that jurisdictions determined by the Census Bureau to have a substantial population of minority-language citizens, such as Colfax County, provide voting materials and assistance in the covered minority language as well as in English.

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TuesdayFebruary 28, 2012