City of Pawtucket


Mayor Donald R. Grebien

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For Immediate Release: May 23, 2024

Contact: Chris Hunter, 401.487.7771

City of Pawtucket Reaches Agreement With Department of Justice to Enhance Voting Access for Spanish-Speaking Residents 

PAWTUCKET, RI – The City of Pawtucket, on behalf of the Board of Canvassers, today announced that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to enhance Pawtucket Spanish-speaking voters’ access to elections information and the right to vote.

Despite seeing an increase in the percentage of Pawtucket elected Latino officials from zero in 2011, to 28 percent today, greater than the City’s 25 percent of Latino residents, the DOJ alleges Spanish-speaking voters have been disenfranchised. The consent order is in response to these allegations, which the City disputes, that the Pawtucket Board of Canvassers was not as effective as they should have been in assisting Spanish-speaking voters through the electoral process.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien offered the following statement regarding the consent order:

When I first ran for Mayor in 2010, I was proud to win the support of many of Pawtucket’s Latino community leaders. I pledged that my administration would embrace and support our city’s Latino population. And that’s exactly what I have done and will continue to do.

I am also incredibly proud to see that today many of our City Council and General Assembly members are Latinos.

I share all of this because as Mayor, I’ve worked hard to support our Latino residents and Latino candidates for office as well as our other populations.

That is why I was surprised to receive notice that the U.S. Department of Justice has alleged recent violations of the Voting Rights Act against the Board of Canvassers regarding lack of providing our Latino residents with Spanish language materials and accurate voting information at the polls.

While I disagree with these allegations, to avoid protracted and expensive litigation, we have entered into this consent order with the Department of Justice. Not only was this the right thing to do, but it also ensures that we will continue to protect the best interests of all residents. 

Working with our Board of Canvassers, City Registrar, and the Board of Elections, we will be implementing all elements of the consent order as quickly as possible. That is because we are just a few short months away from federal, state, and city primary elections on September 10th, and the General Election on November 5th.

I am committed to going above and beyond this consent order to ensure that all Pawtucket residents, including our Spanish-speaking voters, have the information they need to exercise their right to vote.

Per the consent order, the City will implement the following elements prior to the September 10, 2024 Rhode Island primary election:

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