A photo of three voting booths along a brick wall.
Riverside County and Inland Empire United have come to an agreement about the county’s 2021 redistricting efforts. (Canva Images)

Riverside County and Inland Empire United last week reached a deal in a lawsuit involving the county’s 2021 redistricting process.

“This agreement preserves the map of the current supervisorial district boundaries, which was adopted after extensive public participation over several months, and reflects the county’s ongoing commitment to increase participation in the electoral process,” the county said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, the county will provide Spanish translations of all notices, agendas and minutes for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors meetings as well as live Spanish interpretation for all future meetings.

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters will also provide Spanish translations for all legally required public documents, including voter registration materials, materials related to the County Election Administration Plan and all other officials notices and forms. The county will also provide live Spanish interpretation for all registrar of voters public meetings and hearings.

The county has also agreed to spend at least $1.75 per voter to fund both English and Spanish outreach and education efforts in parts of the county with low voter turnout during each contested supervisorial election through 2030. Additionally, any redistricting of the supervisorial districts that happens before 2030 will be done by an independent redistricting commission.

“The agreement demonstrates the County’s continued effort to ensuring equal opportunity for all of its residents to participate in the voting process by providing additional investment to enhance education and outreach in those communities with low-voter turnout and providing Spanish translation of Registrar of Voters official notices and forms, legally required documents, and public meetings,” the county said in a statement.

The lawsuit, filed last year, alleged that the new map “did not give Latine voters equal opportunity to participate in the political process,” according to a news release from Inland Empire United.

“Communities need information to fully participate in the democratic process, whether it is information about how to vote or about what the board will be discussing at a meeting,” Julia Gomez, staff attorney at the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, said in a statement. “While we are disappointed that the County did not adopt a new supervisorial map, this settlement opens more doors for our Latine community members in Riverside to participate in the future health and success of their home regions.”

Latines account for 52% of the county’s population, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and 41.3% speak a language other than English at home with Spanish being the most prominent.

“Despite the size of our Latine community, we’ve yet to fully ensure folks can see themselves in our local governing chambers,” Sky Allen, executive director of Inland Empire United, said in a statement. “This settlement guarantees, for the first time, that our neighbors are welcome to participate as equals in future meetings and is a really meaningful step towards full representation of everyone who calls Riverside home.”

A copy of the settlement agreement can be found here.

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Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.