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MEXICAN-AMERICAN FEDERATION-WASHINGTON STATE v. NA

May 2, 1969

MEXICAN-AMERICAN FEDERATION-WASHINGTON STATE, a non-profit organization; Caesario Jiminez; Simon Ramos; Jennie Marin; and Marta Cantu; on their own behalves and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Eugene NAFF, Yakima County Auditor; Maurine Seefeldt, Toppenish City Clerk and Yakima County Deputy Registrar; and Charles Skinner, Zillah City Clerk and Yakima County Deputy Registrar; on their own behalves and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Defendants, The State of Washington, a body politic, and A. Ludlow Kramer, Secretary of State, Additional Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOODWIN

GOODWIN, District Judge.

 Article VI of the Washington State Constitution as amended by Amendment 5, Section 1, provides in part as follows:

 
"QUALIFICATIONS OF ELECTORS. All persons of the age of twenty-one years or over, possessing the following qualifications, shall be entitled to vote at all elections: They shall be citizens of the United States; they shall have lived in the state one year, and in the county ninety days, and in the city, town, ward or precinct thirty days immediately preceding the election at which they offer to vote; they shall be able to read and speak the English language:"

 It is the last sentence that has precipitated this controversy.

 THE PLAINTIFFS

 The Mexican-American Federation is a Washington corporation. Its purposes include to represent, promote and achieve the economic, social and cultural interests of all Mexican-American people in the State of Washington.

 The plaintiff, Caesario Jiminez, is a citizen of the United States, over the age of twenty-one (21) years, and was born in the State of Texas.

 The plaintiff, Simon Ramos, is a citizen of the United States, over the age of twenty-one (21) years, and was born in the State of Texas.

 The plaintiff, Jennie Marin, is a citizen of the United States, over the age of twenty-one (21) years, and was born in the State of Colorado.

 The plaintiff, Marta Cantu, is a citizen of the United States, over the age of twenty-one (21) years, and was born in the State of Texas.

 They are members of the Mexican-American Federation. They bring this action individually and as a class action.

 THE DEFENDANTS

 The defendant, Eugene Naff, is the Auditor of Yakima County who is empowered by statute to act as Registrar of Voters, R.C.W. 29.07.010, for said county and to appoint deputy registrars to assist him in the performance of his statutory duty. Naff, among others, appointed defendant, Maurine Seefeldt, the City Clerk of the City of Toppenish, Yakima County, Washington, and the defendant, Charles Skinner, the City Clerk of the City of Zillah, Yakima County, Washington, deputy registrars.

 In addition, the plaintiffs have named the State of Washington and A. Ludlow Kramer, Secretary of State, as defendants.

 THE CLAIMS

 Plaintiffs contend:

 1. That the provision in Amendment 5 that requires voters to be able to speak and read the English language is offensive to the First, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States.

 3. The defendants administered literacy tests to plaintiffs and other members of the class that plaintiffs represent which are discriminatory and contravene the ...


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