With election looming, CASA continues negotiations with county

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

With the state primary less than two weeks away, an election-related lawsuit filed against York County by civil rights organizations continues.

After mediation sessions, the two parties will discuss whether more settlement conferences need to be scheduled.

CASA, along with LatinoJustice Fund, initially sued the county last October, alleging the county did not do enough to accommodate Spanish-speaking voters. The lawsuit also sought a preliminary injunction against the county. However, after the county agreed to provide bilingual sample ballots at every precinct and additional interpreters for the November general election, among other concessions, the request for an injunction was dropped.

The county and CASA have met twice in settlement conferences, in March and April. If a settlement is not reached, a case management conference is scheduled for May 17, a day after the primary election.

An April 24 order by Martin Carlson, a magistrate judge with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, informed CASA and York County that they must confer regarding what was discussed at the mediation sessions and inform the court if more settlement conferences must be scheduled.

LatinoJustice Fund attorney Rayza Goldsmith and attorney David Freedman, representing the county, did not return requests for comment.

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The lawsuit is not the first case involving York County to be referred to Judge Carlson; in the lawsuit filed by York County Prison inmates against the county, the prison and controversial contractor Corrections Special Applications Unit, Carlson quashed an attempt by the inmates to classify that lawsuit as class action. That lawsuit is ongoing; the plaintiffs have appealed Carlson's decision.

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CASA is a grassroots organization that advocates for Latinos and immigrants. It had also advocated for several years for the county to end its relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold detainees at York County Prison. The county ended its relationship after nearly 30 years in 2021.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.