SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS
DJ No. 204-74-351

Press Release

This settlement agreement (the "Agreement") is entered into between the United States of America and Harris County, Texas (collectively, the "Parties").

INTRODUCTION

  1. Following an investigation, the United States brought a civil action against Harris County, Texas (“Harris County”), to enforce Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (“Title II” and “ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and Title II’s implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.
  2. The United States alleged that Harris County has discriminated, and continues to discriminate, on the basis of disability, by failing to provide physically accessible polling places to people with mobility and vision disabilities, as required by Title II and the Title II regulation.  The United States found that many of Harris County’s polling places contained architectural barriers such as excessively sloped parking areas, narrow doorways, steep ramps, protruding objects, and inaccessible doorknobs that rendered the facilities inaccessible to voters with disabilities. 
  3. Harris County has over 1,000 voting divisions, currently housed in over 750 polling place locations.  Harris County also has Early Voting polling place locations; the number of these locations varies from election to election.  Harris County, through its County Clerk’s Office, is responsible for reviewing the accessibility of each polling place and selecting each polling place. 
  4. Harris County denies the United States allegations and does not admit, concede, or otherwise acknowledge that it has violated the ADA. 
  5. Individuals with mobility impairments have disabilities within the meaning of the ADA because those impairments substantially limit one or more major life activities of such individuals, including walking.  Individuals with vision impairments have disabilities within the meaning of the ADA because those impairments substantially limit one or more major life activities of such individuals, including seeing.  42 U.S.C. § 12102(2).
  6. Harris County is a “public entity” within the meaning of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1), and 28 C.F.R. § 35.104, and is therefore subject to Title II and its implementing regulation.
  7. The term “Harris County,” as used in this Agreement, shall include the Harris County Clerk’s Office; all of the office’s members, officers, employees, contractors, successors, assigns, and administrative personnel; and any other person under the authority or control of Harris County.
  8. Harris County operates services, programs, and activities within the meaning of Title II, including operating a voting program for federal, state, and local elections for which it selects and uses sites as polling places.
  9. The Parties agree that it is in their mutual interest, and the United States believes that it is in the public interest, to resolve this lawsuit on mutually agreeable terms without further litigation.  In consideration of the mutual promises contained in this Agreement, good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is acknowledged, and to avoid the costs, expenses, and uncertainty of protracted litigation, the Parties, intending to be legally bound, enter into this Agreement.

TERMS OF SETTLEMENT

I. Definitions

  1. “Election” or “Election Day” shall include both the period of Early Voting and Election Day.
  2. “Accessible on Election Day” means that a polling place is compliant with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“2010 Standards”) (28 C.F.R. § 35.104, as set forth in appendices B and D to 36 C.F.R. Part 1191 and the requirements contained in 28 C.F.R. § 35.151) on Election Day, whether such compliance is achieved through permanent architectural measures or through the use of temporary measures such as those provided for in Paragraph 22 below.
  3. “Election Day Surveyors” or “EDSs” are Harris County personnel (or contractors) who will review compliance at polling place locations where temporary measures are to be implemented on Election Day.
  4. “Effective Date” of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.  Unless otherwise specified, all time periods designated for an action run from the Effective Date.
  5. “Subject Matter Experts” are individuals chosen by the Parties with expertise in the accessibility of polling places under the ADA, including expertise with the 2010 Standards.  These individuals will provide technical assistance to Harris County as set forth in this Agreement.

Obligations of Harris County

  1. Accessible Voting Program
    1. Harris County shall not exclude qualified individuals with disabilities from participation in or deny them the benefits of its voting program, or subject them to discrimination, on the basis of disability.  42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.130(a) and 35.149.  Harris County shall administer its voting program in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of persons with disabilities.  28 C.F.R. § 35.130(d).  Harris County will take all reasonable and necessary steps to effectuate its obligation to comply with the ADA with respect to its voting program and this Agreement. 
    2. Harris County shall provide accessible polling places in order to have an accessible voting program, including a program that is accessible to persons with mobility or vision disabilities.  42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.130, 35.149.  Harris County shall select facilities to be used as polling places that do not exclude qualified individuals with disabilities from or deny them the benefits of the polling place, or otherwise subject them to discrimination. 42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(4).
    3. For all elections occurring after the Effective Date of this Agreement, Harris County will implement measures to remediate the violations previously identified by the United States in its letter of September 29, 2014, and in its five expert reports sent on August 9, 2018, as set forth in Attachment A, to make those polling place locations Accessible on Election Day, or will relocate those locations not remediated to an alternative accessible location pursuant to the process established in Paragraphs 25 and 27 of this Agreement.  Harris County will provide its remediation plan to the United States and the Experts within one hundred eighty (180) days of the Effective Date of this Agreement.  If Harris County asserts, and the United States agrees, that remediation and relocation to an accessible polling place location are infeasible, then Harris County shall comply with Title II’s program accessibility requirements as described in Paragraph 21 of this Agreement.  28 C.F.R. § 35.150.
    4. Nothing in this Agreement limits Harris County from making ADA-compliant, permanent modifications to County-owned polling place locations instead of providing temporary remedial measures or relocating a polling place location to a location that can be made Accessible on Election Day.
    5. For Harris County-owned facilities, Harris County shall maintain in operable working condition on Election Day those features of facilities and equipment (including permanent equipment such as lifts and elevators and temporary equipment such as portable ramps, traffic cones, signs, wedges, and door stops) that are required to make polling places Accessible on Election Day.  28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a).  If circumstances arise such that a County-owned polling place location that was previously accessible is no longer accessible because a feature of the polling place location or equipment is no longer operable, then Harris County shall either purchase new equipment or relocate the polling place to an alternative, accessible location pursuant to the process established in Paragraphs 25 and 27 of this Agreement.  If Harris County asserts, and the United States agrees, that remediation and relocation to an accessible polling place location are infeasible, then Harris County shall comply with Title II’s program accessibility requirements as described in Paragraph 21 of this Agreement.
    6. For all facilities not owned by Harris County, Harris County shall maintain in operable working condition on Election Day those features of facilities and equipment owned by Harris County (including temporary equipment such as portable ramps, traffic cones, signs, wedges, and door stops) that are required to make polling places Accessible on Election Day.  28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a).  If circumstances arise such that a non-Harris County owned polling place location that was previously accessible is no longer accessible because a feature of the polling place location or equipment owned by Harris County is no longer operable, then Harris County shall either purchase new temporary equipment or relocate the polling place to an alternative, accessible location pursuant to the process established in Paragraphs 25 and 27 of this Agreement.  If Harris County asserts, and the United States agrees, that remediation and relocation to an accessible polling place location are infeasible, then Harris County shall comply with Title II’s program accessibility requirements as described in Paragraph 21 of this Agreement.
    7. If Harris County asserts, and the United States agrees, that remediation and relocation to an accessible polling place location are infeasible, then Harris County shall comply with Title II’s program accessibility requirements, see 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart D, and provide absentee voting and effective curbside voting.  Effective curbside voting includes: (1) signage outside of the location informing voters of the availability of curbside voting, the location of the curbside voting, and how voters can notify the official that they are waiting curbside; (2) a curbside voting location that allows the curbside voter to obtain information from candidates and others campaigning outside the polling place; (3) a method for the voter with a disability to announce her arrival at the curbside voting location without requiring the voter to bring a companion or get assistance from another voter (a temporary doorbell or buzzer system at the curbside voting location would be sufficient, but not a telephone system requiring the use of a cell phone or a call-ahead notification); (4) a prompt response from election officials to acknowledge their awareness of the voter; (5) timely delivery of the same information that is provided to voters inside the polling place; and (6) a portable voting system that is accessible and allows the voter to cast her ballot privately and independently.
    8. Harris County agrees that the following measures will be implemented where necessary to make an otherwise inaccessible polling place Accessible on Election Day.  The list of measures is not exhaustive; Harris County may propose other reasonable, temporary measures subject to the review and approval of the United States. 
      1. Portable ramps (including curb ramps) up to and including ramps six feet long, with side edge protection.
      2. Portable wedges or wedge ramps.
      3. Floor mats.
      4. Traffic cones.
      5. Relocating furniture or other moveable barriers.
      6. Door stops.
      7. Propping open doors.
      8. Unlocking doors.
      9. Signage, including parking and accessible entrance directional signage.
      10. Portable buzzers or door bells.
      11. Removing astragals (center door posts) that are not a permanent part of the structure from doorways.
  2. Survey and Review of Polling Place Locations
    1. Harris County shall revise its policies, practices, and procedures to select facilities to be used as polling places that do not exclude qualified individuals with disabilities from or deny them the benefits of the polling place, or otherwise subject them to discrimination on the basis of their disabilities.  Within one hundred twenty (120) days of the Effective Date of this Agreement, Harris County shall submit its revised policies, practices, and procedures to the United States for review and approval.  Within ten (10) days of receiving comments from the United States, Harris County shall incorporate in its policies, practices, and procedures any additions or modifications proposed by the United States that bring the County’s policies, practices, and procedures into compliance with the ADA.
    2. Harris County will modify its polling place accessibility survey instrument to conform with the 2010 Standards.  The survey instrument will include:  (1) measurements of each feature in the survey form (e.g., width of parking space, slope of curb ramp); (2) photographs of each element of the polling place and of each measurement; (3) the identification of all appropriate remedial measures, including the remedial measures in Paragraph 22 of this Agreement; and (4) measurements (including slope measurements) and photographs of each remedial measure as it will be implemented on Election Day.  The survey instrument will be submitted to the United States for review and approval within sixty (60) days of the Effective Date of this Agreement.  Within ten (10) days of receiving comments from the United States, Harris County shall incorporate in its survey instrument any reasonable changes, additions, or modifications proposed by the United States.
    3. For all polling place locations that were not surveyed fully by the United States in the January 2013 Special Election, the May 2016 Special Election, the November 2016 General Election, or the May 2018 Primary Run-Off Election, Harris County will conduct a survey using the survey instrument referenced in Paragraph 24 of this Agreement.  Harris County will provide all surveys to the Experts, and any survey to the United States upon request, with all surveys to be completed no later than one year after the Effective Date of this Agreement.  The Experts will provide the surveys and the Experts’ recommendations regarding whether the surveys are accurate to the United States on a monthly basis.  If the Experts or the United States disputes the accuracy of a survey, then Harris County will re-survey the portions of the polling place in question.  If the United States concludes that Harris County has proposed a remedial provision that does not fully address a barrier to accessibility, then Harris County will propose and implement, subject to the review and approval of the United States, a remedial measure consistent with Paragraph 22 of this Agreement or relocating a polling place to a location that can be made Accessible on Election Day.
    4. Harris County shall select polling place locations that are Accessible on Election Day to persons with disabilities.  It shall be Harris County’s policy and practice to review each newly proposed polling place location to determine whether it is Accessible on Election Day prior to its use in an election.  Harris County shall use the survey instrument referenced in Paragraph 24 of this Agreement to make all future polling place location selections.  If Harris County ultimately determines that a newly proposed location is inaccessible (as defined by the survey instrument) and cannot be made Accessible on Election Day, then Harris County will reject the location and continue searching until a location that will be Accessible on Election Day can be found subject to Paragraph 21. 
    5. When Harris County identifies a new prospective polling place location, Harris County will provide the Experts and the United States notice within twenty-one (21) days of the selection of the proposed new location, along with copies of all surveys (including photographs) of the polling place.  The new polling place location shall be selected pursuant to the process established by Paragraphs 25 and 27 of this Agreement.  The United States’ approval must be obtained before Harris County uses the location in an election. 
    6. If Harris County finds that it cannot implement a previously-approved remedial provision for a specific polling place location, Harris County will immediately notify and confer with the United States.  If the issue cannot be resolved to the United States’ satisfaction, Harris County will relocate the polling place location to an alternative location that is Accessible on Election Day pursuant to the process established by Paragraphs 25 and 27 of this Agreement.  
    7. If, within two weeks before an election Harris County finds that emergency circumstances have precluded the use of an accessible polling place location, then Harris County will select a polling place pursuant to the process established by Paragraphs 25 and 27 of this Agreement to the extent it is feasible.  Harris County shall promptly provide notice to the Experts and the United States.  If Harris County asserts, and the United States agrees, that relocation to an accessible polling place location is infeasible, then the County shall comply with Title II’s program accessibility requirements as described in Paragraph 21 of this Agreement.c
    8. If a political subdivision other than Harris County rejects an available county-designated polling place and instead provides its preferred polling place at its own expense pursuant to Texas Election Code § 43.034(c) and the political subdivision’s preferred polling place is not accessible and cannot be made accessible on Election Day through the use of temporary measures, then Harris County shall comply with Title II’s program accessibility requirements as described in Paragraph 21 of this Agreement.  28 C.F.R. § 35.150.  When such a political subdivision notifies the County that it is providing its preferred polling place at its own expense, the County shall notify the United States within five (5) days and confer with the United States regarding remediation.
    9. If a political party obtains consent from the Texas Secretary of State to reject an available county-designated polling place pursuant to Texas Election Code § 43.034(c) and the political party’s preferred polling place is not accessible and cannot be made accessible on Election Day through the use of temporary measures, then Harris County shall comply with Title II’s program accessibility requirements as described in Paragraph 21 of this Agreement.  28 C.F.R. § 35.150.  When a political party notifies the County that it has obtained the Secretary of State’s consent to reject a county-designated polling place location, the County shall notify the United States within five (5) days and confer with the United States regarding remediation.  
  3. Election Judge and Poll Worker Training
    1. Prior to each election during the term of this Agreement, as part of its training program for election judges and poll workers, Harris County will provide training on Title II of the ADA and the requirements of this Agreement as applied to Harris County’s voting program, including:
      1. Voting room or area requirements under the 2010 ADA Standards;
      2. Temporary remedial measures, including:  (a) why such measures are necessary; (b) how the measures must be implemented (e.g., how to install ramps, the placement of mats over (and not in front of) thresholds); and (c) a description of the role of Harris County’s Election Day Surveyors (EDSs), as set forth in Paragraph 37 of this Agreement, and the need to follow the instructions of the EDSs regarding the implementation of temporary measures on Election Day;
      3. Interacting with individuals with disabilities and making reasonable modifications necessary to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in Harris County’s voting program; and
      4. Harris County’s revised policies, practices, and procedures, including the policies, practices, and procedures revised pursuant to Paragraphs 21 and 23 and Section F.
    2. After the first election occurring after the Effective Date of this Agreement, and at each training session for each election thereafter, Harris County will identify each election judge in attendance whose polling place was identified as non-compliant by an EDS compliance review from the previous election (pursuant to Paragraph 37 of this Agreement).  Harris County will explain to each election judge the nature of the noncompliance and explain what the election judge must do to remedy the identified issue(s) on Election Day.
    3. Prior to each election during the term of this Agreement, Harris County will provide training to all EDSs designated pursuant to Paragraph 37 of this Agreement.  The training of the EDSs will address: (a) temporary measures, including why they are needed and how the measures must be implemented (e.g., how to install ramps, the placement of mats over (and not in front of) thresholds); (b) how to resolve errors in the implementation of temporary measures on Election Day; (c) how to document the implementation of temporary measures on Election Day using checklists or compliance review forms referenced in Paragraph 36 of this Agreement; and (d) what the EDSs are required to do to implement the requirements of this Agreement.
  4. Election Day Compliance Review
    1. Harris County will develop a checklist of the temporary measures to be implemented on Election Day at each polling place location where such measures are required.  The checklist shall be included in the materials provided to each election judge for Election Day and provided to each Harris County employee or vendor involved in installing or implementing temporary measures for Election Day.  The checklist shall include clear instructions and diagrams for the remedial measures to be implemented by the election judge.  Copies of these checklists, instructions, and diagrams will be provided to the Experts and to the United States no later than sixty (60)days before each election.
    2. Harris County will designate County personnel (or contractors) as EDSs to review compliance at the polling place locations where temporary measures are to be implemented on Election Day.  Harris County will provide at least ten teams of two members each in each countywide election.  For each election that is not countywide, Harris County will field a number of teams that is similarly proportionate to the size of the election.  The EDSs shall review compliance with as many polling place locations in each election as is reasonable, with a minimum of twenty (20) polling places reviewed in each election for each team.  All Early Voting locations shall be reviewed by the EDSs at least once during each election.  Any polling place location found by the EDSs to be non-compliant in an election shall be reviewed by EDSs in the subsequent election.  The EDSs shall review polling places where temporary measures are to be implemented on a rotating basis so that they are not reviewing the same polling place locations in a subsequent election, except for those found to be non-compliant.
    3. Harris County and the EDSs will use the checklist developed pursuant to Paragraph 36 of this Agreement to review compliance on Election Day.  The EDSs shall document their compliance reviews (both compliant and non-compliant polling place locations) with detailed photographs.  After documenting a non-compliant polling place location, the EDSs shall remedy any non-compliant implementation of a temporary remedy when possible.  Copies of these compliance reviews will be provided to the Experts and the United States within ninety (90) days after each election.
    4. If Harris County does not properly implement the temporary remedial measures necessary at a particular polling place location on Election Day in two (2) consecutive elections, and, if the polling place location is a county-owned polling place location and Harris County does not make permanent architectural remediation, then Harris County will no longer use the polling place location and will relocate it to a location that is Accessible on Election Day.  If Harris County asserts, and the United States agrees, that remediation and relocation to an accessible polling place location are infeasible, then Harris County shall comply with Title II’s program accessibility requirements, as described in Paragraph 21 of this Agreement.
  5. Staff Training
    1.  Within one hundred twenty (120) days of the Effective Date of this Agreement, Harris County will provide training from the Subject Matter Experts and/or an outside source to all employees in the Elections Division and any relevant contractors or vendors, including those who conduct surveys or implement temporary measures,on Title II of the ADA and the requirements of this Agreement as applied to Harris County’s voting program, including:
      1. Polling place accessibility requirements under the 2010 ADA Standards;
      2. Temporary remedial measures, including:  (a) why such measures are necessary; (b) how the measures must be implemented (e.g., how to install ramps, the placement of mats over (and not in front of) thresholds); and (c) a description of the role of Harris County’s Election Day Surveyors (EDSs), as set forth in Paragraph 37 of this Agreement, and the need to follow the instructions of the EDSs regarding the implementation of temporary measures on Election Day;
      3. Interacting with individuals with disabilities and making reasonable modifications necessary to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in Harris County’s voting program; and
      4. Harris County’s revised policies, practices, and procedures, including the policies, practices, and procedures revised pursuant to Paragraphs 21 and 23 and Section F.
    2. Harris County may tape the initial training to use for employees hired after the initial training.  Harris County will provide this training on an annual basis for the duration of this Agreement.  Harris County must obtain the United States’ approval of the trainer and the materials to be used in the training.
  6. Complaint Collection and Review Process
    1. Harris County will submit for approval by the United States, and then adopt, procedures providing for the receipt of and prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging that the County’s voting program discriminates against persons with disabilities.  28 C.F.R. § 35.107(b).  The complaint procedures shall include procedures for election judges and poll workers to gather and document appropriate information from a complainant on site at a polling place during an election, and for Harris County to accept and document phone calls and emails received prior to, during, or after an election.  Harris County will publish the complaint procedures on the Harris County Clerk’s website and provide notices at each polling place during each election.  These procedures will be in place for all elections after the Effective Date of this Agreement.
    2. Within ninety (90) days of the Effective Date of this Agreement and for the term of this Agreement, Harris County will designate an employee to serve as an ADA Coordinator for the Elections Division.  The ADA Coordinator will be trained in and knowledgeable about the ADA and the terms of this Agreement, and will investigate any complaint that the County, election judges, or any other person under the authority or control of Harris County receives alleging that the County’s voting program discriminates against persons with disabilities.  The ADA Coordinator will also implement the complaint procedures described in Paragraph 42.  28 C.F.R. § 35.107(a).
    3. Harris County will publish a Notice to Voters with Disabilities on its website and at all polling places for all elections within one hundred twenty (120) days of the Effective Date of this Agreement, and for the term of this Agreement, that notifies voters of the name of, and contact information for, the Election Division’s ADA Coordinator. 
    4. Harris County will promptly provide to the United States a copy of the written complaint procedures described in Paragraph 42.  Every ninety (90) days, Harris County will provide a written report to the United States including summaries of any written complaints, complaints received as voice messages or other audio files, or written descriptions of verbal complaints, that the County, the election judges, or any other person under the authority or control of Harris County receives alleging that the County’s voting program discriminates against persons with disabilities; and any written responses provided by the County and a written description of actions taken in response to such complaints.  Harris County will provide the United States with copies of any written complaints, complaints received as voice messages or other audio files, or written descriptions of verbal complaints, upon request.

III. Subject Matter Experts

  1. Selection of the Subject Matter Experts
    1. The Parties agree that Jeromy Murphy and Attila Huszka shall be the Subject Matter Experts (“Experts”) retained by Harris County to provide technical assistance.
    2. In the event an Expert resigns or the Parties agree to replace an Expert, the Parties will meet and confer within ten (10) days to agree upon a replacement.
  2. Experts’ Responsibilities
    1. The Experts will provide training and technical assistance to help Harris County comply with its obligations under the Agreement.  Harris County will cooperate fully with the Experts.  The Experts will also analyze and report on data reflecting Harris County’s progress in complying with the polling place physical accessibility sections of this Agreement.
    2. The Experts and the United States will have full access to persons, employees, facilities, buildings, programs, services, documents, data, records, materials, and things that are necessary to assess Harris County’s progress and implementation efforts with this Agreement.  The United States and/or the Experts will provide reasonable notice of any visit or inspection.
    3. In addition to reviewing and analyzing surveys and remedial measures, the Experts will assess the quality and sufficiency of Harris County’s survey process and implementation of remedial measures, by reviewing regularly a representative sample of polling places surveyed by Harris County and temporary measures implemented by Harris County during an election.
    4. At least every six (6) months, the Experts will draft and submit to the Parties a comprehensive public report on Harris County’s compliance including recommendations, if any, to facilitate or sustain compliance as well as information obtained under Paragraph 50.  Harris County shall post these reports on its website.
    5. The Experts will provide Harris County with technical assistance relating to any aspect of the physical accessibility of polling places as provided for in this Agreement.
    6. In completing their responsibilities the Experts may:  (a) hire staff and consultants as necessary to assist in carrying out the Experts’ duties and responsibilities; (b) require written reports and data from Harris County concerning compliance; and (c) testify in enforcement proceedings regarding any matter relating to the implementation, enforcement, or dissolution of the Agreement, including, but not limited to, the Experts’ observations, findings, and recommendations in this matter.
  3. Reimbursement and Payment
    1. The cost of the Experts, including the cost of any staff or consultants to the Experts, will be borne by Harris County, but the Experts and the Experts’ staff or consultants are not agents of Harris County.  All reasonable expenses incurred by the Experts or any of the Experts’ staff in the course of the performance of the duties of the Experts will be reimbursed by Harris County consistent with the agreed upon budget.
    2. Harris County will not otherwise employ, retain, or be affiliated with the Experts on any matter related to this Agreement or this litigation (Civil Action No. 4:16-cv-02331), unless the United States gives its written consent to waive this prohibition.

IV. Training and Technical Assistance from the United States

  1. Upon request from Harris County, the United States, in collaboration with the Experts, will provide training to Harris County personnel on the surveying process and the application of the 2010 Standards to polling place locations. 
  2. Upon request from Harris County, the United States will provide technical assistance to Harris County concerning the implementation of the terms of this Agreement, including assistance in preparing training materials and on ways to implement temporary measures to make a polling place Accessible on Election Day.

V. Enforcement and Termination

  1. The Parties agree to file this Agreement as an exhibit to a joint motion to dismiss the United States’ Complaint, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2), subject to reinstatement upon the United States’ motion for the purpose of resolving a claim that Harris County materially breached any provision of this Agreement.  The motion to dismiss the Complaint shall request that the Court retain jurisdiction to resolve any dispute under the Agreement.
  2. Should the United States move to restore the Complaint to the active docket of the Court for purposes of resolution of a claim of breach, Harris County consents to and agrees not to contest the United States’ motion to restore, and consents to and agrees not to contest the exercise of personal jurisdiction over Harris County by the Court. 
  3. If the Action is reinstated, Harris County expressly agrees not to count the time during which this Agreement is in place, or use the terms or existence of this Agreement, to plead, argue or otherwise raise any defenses under theories of claim preclusion, issue preclusion, statute of limitations, estoppel, laches, or similar defenses. 
  4. Before moving to restore the Complaint to the active docket, the United States shall provide Harris County notice of any asserted breach in writing.  Harris County shall have up to sixty (60) days from the date of notice to cure the default.  If an election will be held in less than sixty (60) days, the United States may file a claim of breach upon reasonable notice to Harris County.
  5. In the event the United States reinstates the Action and the Court finds a material breach of the Agreement, the United States may seek the following:  1) an order mandating specific performance of any term or provision in this Agreement; and 2) any additional relief that may be authorized by law or equity.
  6. This Agreement shall terminate in four years. 
  7. Notwithstanding Paragraph 63, this Agreement will terminate earlier than four years if the Department determines that Harris County has demonstrated durable compliance with Title II of the ADA with respect to its voting program.  
  8. Notwithstanding Paragraph 64, if the Department determines that Harris County has demonstrated durable compliance with a part of the Agreement and that part is sufficiently severable from the other requirements of the Agreement, the Parties agree to terminate that part of the Agreement.  In determining whether Harris County has demonstrated durable compliance with a part of the Agreement, the Department may assess collectively all the requirements of the Agreement to determine whether the intended outcome of the part has been achieved.
  9. In any dispute regarding compliance with any provision of this Agreement, Harris County will bear the burden of demonstrating that it is in compliance with this Agreement.
  10. Delivery of Materials:  All notices, demands, or other communications including reporting materials sent to the United States pursuant to this Agreement shall be in writing and delivered by e-mail to elizabeth.johnson@usdoj.gov (or to any other e-mail address that the United States designates during the term of this Agreement) or by overnight delivery to the following person and address:  Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 1425 New York Avenue, N.W., Fourth Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005.  The cover letter shall include a subject line referencing Harris County and DJ# 204-74-351.
  11. Reviewing Compliance:  The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time.  Harris County will cooperate fully with the United States’ efforts to monitor compliance with this Agreement, including but not limited to, providing the United States with timely access to polling places (including on Election Day), maps, surveys, employees, contractors, training sessions, relevant documents, and other reasonably requested information.  After receipt of each report referenced in Paragraph 51, the parties will confer to assess the County’s compliance with this Agreement.
  12. Titles and Headings:  Titles and other headings contained in this Agreement are included only for ease of reference and shall have no substantive effect.
  13. Entire Agreement:  This Agreement, including Attachment A, constitutes the entire agreement between the United States and Harris County on the matters raised herein and no other statement or promise, written or oral, made by any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, including Attachment A, shall be enforceable.
  14. Severability:  If any term of this Agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Agreement shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect.
  15. Non-Waiver:  Failure by the United States to enforce any provisions or deadlines in this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of the right of the United States to enforce any deadlines or provisions of this Agreement.
  16. Limitation:  This Agreement is limited to resolving claims under Title II of the ADA related to the facts specifically set forth in Paragraphs 1 through 3, above, concerning physical accessibility of polling places.  Nothing in this Agreement relates to other provisions of the ADA or affects Harris County’s obligations to comply with any other federal, state, or local statutory, administrative, regulatory, or common law obligation, including those relating to nondiscrimination against individuals with disabilities.
  17. Modifications:  Any modifications of this Agreement, such as extensions of the time limits for performance imposed by the Agreement, may be made only by the mutual written consent of the Parties. 
  18. Fees and Costs:  Each of the Parties to this litigation will bear its own costs and attorney’s fees associated with this litigation.
  19. Preservation of Documents:  Throughout the term of this Agreement, the parties shall preserve documents, electronically stored information, or other information related to this litigation (Civil Action No. 4:16-cv-02331) and necessary to determining Harris County’s compliance with this Agreement.  The parties need not preserve documents, including communications, created by and exchanged solely among attorneys or staff within the United States Department of Justice or the Harris County Attorney’s Office, respectively.  Nothing in this paragraph relieves either party of any other obligations imposed by this Agreement.
  20. Counterparts:  This Agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts, each of which is an original, and all of which taken together constitute one single document.
  21. Publicly Available:  A copy of this document will be made available to any person by the County on request.

RYAN K. PATRICK
United States Attorney
Southern District of Texas

DANIEL DAVID HU
Chief, Civil Division
JOHN A. SMITH, III
Deputy Chief, Civil Division
Assistant United States Attorney
E. PAXTON WARNER
Assistant United States Attorney

 

 

/s/ Jimmy A. Rodriguez
JIMMY A. RODRIGUEZ
Assistant United States Attorney
Southern District No. 572175
Texas Bar No. 24037378
USAO-Southern District of Texas
1000 Louisiana, Suite 2300
Houston, Texas 77002
Tel.  713-567-9532
Fax.  713-718-3303
Email: jimmy.rodriguez2@usdoj.gov

 

Date: 3/12/19

 

 

FOR HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS:

/s/ Lina Hidalgo
County Judge Lina Hidalgo
Harris County, Texas

Date: March 12, 2019

ERIC S. DREIBAND
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

REBECCA B. BOND
Chief
KATHLEEN WOLFE
Special Litigation Counsel
AMANDA MAISELS
Deputy Chief

/s/ Elizabeth Johnson
ELIZABETH JOHNSON
CHRISTINE KIM
CHARLOTTE L. LANVERS
DOV LUTZKER
Trial Attorneys
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW-NYA
Washington, D.C. 20530
Telephone: (202) 307-3543
Facsimile: (202) 305-9775
elizabeth.johnson@usdoj.gov
christine.kim2@usdoj.gov
charlotte.lanvers@usdoj.gov
dov.lutzker@usdoj.gov

 

Date: 3/12/19

Attachment A: Violations Identified in the United States' Letter of Findings (Sept. 29, 2014)

Polling place violations that can be remediated with temporary measures

American Legion Post, 708 E. Parker Road, Houston, TX

Baytown Community Center, 2407 Market Street, Baytown, TX (Early Voting Location Only)

Burbank Elementary School, 216 Tidwell Road, Houston, TX

Charlton Park Rec Center, 8200 Park Place Boulevard, Houston, TX

Church of the Living God Temple 1, 2110 E. Crosstimbers Street, Houston, TX

El Mesias United Methodist Church, 406 E. Rittenhouse Street, Houston, TX

Ernest F. Mendel Elementary School, 3735 Topping Street, Houston, TX

Evelyn Thompson Elementary School, 220 Casa Grande Drive, Houston, TX

Faith Presbyterian Church, 2301 S. Houston Road, Pasadena, TX

Felix H. Morales Elementary School, 305 W. Harris Drive, Pasadena, TX

Fire Station #20, 6902 Navigation Boulevard, Houston, TX

Freeman Elementary School, 2323 Theta Street, Houston, TX

Galena Park Library, 1500 Keene Street, Galena Park, TX (Early Voting & Election Day Location)

Gallegos Elementary School, 7415 Harrisburg Boulevard, Houston, TX

Gardens Elementary School, 1105 East Harris Avenue, Pasadena, TX

Garfield Elementary School, 10301 Hartsook Street, Houston, TX

Glenbrook United Methodist Church, 8635 Glen Valley Drive, Houston, TX

Hardy Senior Center, 11901 West Hardy Road, Houston, TX

Harris County Administrative Building, 1001 Preston, 1st Floor, Houston, TX (Early Voting Location Only)

Henderson Elementary School, 1800 Dismuke Street, Houston, TX

Heritage Elementary School, 1225 TC Jester Boulevard, Houston, TX

Holy Name Church, 1912 Marion Street, Houston, TX (Early Voting Location Only)

Houston Gulf Coast and Construction, 2704 Sutherland Street, Houston, TX

Ingrando Park Rec Center, 7302 Keller Street, Houston, TX

JC Mitchell Elementary School, 10900 Gulfdale Drive, Houston, TX

John Harris Elementary School, 801 Broadway Street, Houston, TX

JP Cornelius Elementary School, 7475 Westover Street, Houston, TX

Knights Inn, 12500 North Freeway, Houston, TX

Lindale Assembly of God Church, 504 Chaplin Street, Houston, TX

Looscan Elementary School, 3800 Robertson Street, Houston, TX

Mary Walke Stephens Elementary School, 2402 Aldine Mail Route, Houston, TX

Meadow Creek Village Park Community Center, 5333 Berry Creek Drive, Houston, TX

Mountain Top Ministries, 8420 Almeda Genoa Road, Houston, TX

Neighborhood Center Inc Ripley House Campus, 4410 Navigation Boulevard, Houston, TX (Early Voting & Election Day Location)

North Shore Friends Church, 1013 Maxey Road, Houston, TX

Primera Iglesia Bautista de Pasadena, 612 E. Houston Avenue, Pasadena, TX

Ralph Goodman Elementary School, 9325 Deer Trail Drive, Houston, TX

Raul Yzaguirre School for Success Tejano Center, 2950 Broadway Boulevard, Houston, TX

Red Bluff Elementary School, 416 Bearle Street, Pasadena, TX

Richard & Kitty Spence Elementary School, 1300 Gears Road, Houston, TX

Rick Schneider Elementary School, 8430 Easthaven Boulevard, Houston, TX

San Jacinto Girl Scout Imperial Valley Center, 15800 Imperial Valley Drive, Houston, TX

Scarborough Elementary School, 3021 Little York Road, Houston, TX

Scroggins Elementary School, 400 Boyles Street, Houston, TX

South Houston Intermediate School, 900 College Avenue, South Houston, TX

St. Anne de Beaupre Catholic Church, 2810 Link Road, Houston, TX

St. Francis Cabrini Parish Center, 10727 Hartsook Street, Houston, TX

St. Paul AME Church, 1554 Gears Road, Houston, TX

Thomas Gray Elementary School, 700 West Street, Houston, TX

William Booth Garden Apartments, 808 Frawley Street, Houston, TX

Woodland Lodge No 1157, 8337 Sweetwater Lane, Houston, TX

Woodland Park Community Center, 212 Parkview Street, Houston, TX

Polling places that cannot be remediated with temporary measures:

Cage Elementary School, 4528 Leeland Street, Houston, TX

Emanuel Deliverance Temple of Refuge, 4718 Little Crest Road, Houston, TX

Greater Love Baptist Church, 6113 Jensen Drive, Houston, TX

Jefferson Davis High School, 1101 Quitman Street, Houston, TX

Scarsdale Civic Association Building, 12127 Teaneck Drive, Houston, TX

Expert Report of James L.E. Terry, Evan Terry Associates, LLC (August 9, 2018)

Alexander Deussen Park Senior Center, 12303 Sonnier Street, Houston, TX

Alice McKean Young Library, 5107 Griggs Road, Houston, TX

Galena Park Library, 1500 Keene Street, Galena Park, TX

Hardy Street Senior Citizens Center, 11901 West Hardy, Houston, TX

Harris County Courthouse Annex 14 SE, 5737 Cullen Boulevard, Houston, TX

Harris County Annex 57, 19818 Franz Road, Katy, TX

Harris County Clear Lake Park Rec Center, 4953-4999 East NASA Parkway, Seabrook, TX

Tom Bass Community Center - Section 3, 15108 Cullen Boulevard, Houston, TX

Expert Report of Ken Schoonover, P.E., KMS Associates, Inc. (August 7, 2018)

A.B. Anderson Academy 7401 Wheatly St., Houston, TX

Anderson Elementary School, 6218 Lynngate Dr., Spring, TX

B. T. Washington High School, 119 E. 39th St., Houston, TX

Burrus Elementary School, 701 E. 33rd St., Houston, TX

Candlelight Park Community Center, 1520 Candlelight Lane, Houston, TX

Cypress Point Baptist Church, Blue Lake Dr., Huffman, TX

Durham Elementary School, 4803 Brinkman St., Houston, TX

Eiland Elementary School, 6700 N. Klein Circle Dr., Houston, TX

First New Hope Bible Church, W. Mount Houston Rd, Houston, TX

G. W. Carver Contemporary High School, 2100S. Victory Dr., Houston, TX

Ginger McNabb Elementary School, 743 East Cypresswood Dr., Spring, TX

God's Grace Community Church, 1106W. Tidwell Rd., Houston, TX

Highland Park Recreation Center, 3316 De Soto St., Houston, TX

Holiday Inn Houston Intercontinental, 15222 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Houston, TX

Humble Elementary School, 20252 Fieldtree Dr., Humble, TX

Immanuel United Church, 26501 Border St., Spring, TX

John F. Kennedy Elementary School, 400 Victoria Dr., Houston, TX

Jones EC PK Center, Forest Point Dr., Humble, TX

Memorial Hills Clubhouse, Briarcreek Blvd., Houston, TX

Nitsch Elementary School, W. Mount Houston Rd., Houston, TX

North Belt Elementary School, E. North Belt Dr., Humble, TX

Northwest Church of Christ, 67220 W. Tidwell Rd., Houston, TX

Oak Forest Elementary School-Houston, 1401 W. 43rd St., Houston, TX

Osborne Elementary School, Ringold St., Houston, TX

River Pines Elementary School, 2400 Cold River Dr., Humble, TX

Salyers Elementary School, 25705 W. Hardy Rd., Spring, TX

Spirit of the Word, 803 Curtin St., Houston, TX

St. Pius X High School, 811 W. Donovan St., Houston, TX

Teague Middle School, 21700 Rayford Rd., Humble, TX

Wesley Elementary School, Dillard St., Houston, TX

Expert Report of John Rife Torkelson, theACCESSpartnership, L.P. (August 8, 2018)

Alvin D. Baggett Community Center, 1302 Keene St., Houston, TX

Beneke Elementary School, 3840 Briarchase St., Houston, TX

Bethany Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 7304 Homestead Rd., Houston, TX

Bruce Elementary School, 511 Jensen Dr., Houston, TX

Creekside Park Junior High School, 8711 Creekside Green Dr., Houston, TX

Eastwood Academy Charter High School, 1315 Dumble St., Houston, TX

Eickenroht Elementary School, 15252 Grant Point Rd., Houston, TX

Fiesta Mart Inc., 8130 Kirby Rd., Houston, TX

First Baptist Church of Tomball, 401 Oxford St., Houston, TX

Freeman Branch Library, 16616 Diana Ln., Houston, TX

Gloria B. Sammons, 2301 Frick Rd., Houston, TX

Greater True Vine Missionary Baptist Church, 3011 Fontinot St., Houston, TX

Helen Major Elementary School, 16855 Sugar Pine Dr., Houston, TX

Helms Community Learning Center, 503 West 21st St., Houston, TX

Hill Intermediate School, 2625 West Mount Houston St., Houston, TX

Hiram Clarke Multi Service Center, 3810 W. Fuqua St., Houston, TX

John Phelps Courthouse, 101 South Rickey St., Houston, TX

Julia C. Hester House, 2020 Solo St., Houston, TX

Justice of the Peace Entry, 5300 Griggs Rd., Houston, TX

Kashmere Multi Service Center, 4802 Lockwood Dr., Houston, TX

Key Middle School, 4000 Kelley St., Houston, TX

Kyle Chapman Activity Center, 7340 Spencer Highway, Houston, TX

Lakes of Northpointe Clubhouse, 13502 Northpointe Ridge Ln., Houston, TX

Langwood Baptist Church, 4134 Sutherland Rd., Houston, TX

Londonberry Clubhouse, 8331 London Way Dr., Houston, TX

Moody Park Community Center, 3725 Fulton St., Houston, TX

Neighborhood Centers Inc Ripley House, 4410 Navigation Blvd., Houston, TX

Northbrook Senior High School, 1 Raider Circle South, Houston, TX

Pleasantville Elementary School, 1431 Gellhorn Dr., Houston, TX

Saint Timothy Lutheran Church, 14225 Hargrave Rd., Houston, TX

Scarsdale County Annex, 10851 Scarsdale Blvd., Houston, TX

Sunnyside Multi-Purpose Center, 9314 Cullen Blvd., Houston, TX

Tomball City Hall Council Chamber, 401 Market St., Houston, TX

 
Wesley United Methodist Church, 7225 Homestead Rd., Houston, TX

West Gray Adaptive Recreation, 1475 West Gray St., Houston, TX

Wildwood Creek Elementary School, 13802 Northpoint Blvd., Houston, TX

Willow Creek Elementary School, 18302 North Eldridge Pkwy., Houston, TX

Expert Report of Jeromy G. Murphy,
American Construction Investigations, LTD (August 6, 2018)

Alice Johnson Junior High School, 15500 Proctor Street, Channelview, TX

Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library, 22248 Aldine Westfield Rd, Humble, TX

Cedar Bayou Junior School, 2610 East Elvinta Street, Baytown, TX

Champion Life Center, 3031 FM 2920 Rd, Spring, TX

Champions Forest Baptist Church (Cypress Creek), 4840 Strack Rd, Houston, TX

Cimarron Elementary School GPISD, 816 Cimarron Street, Houston, TX

Coady Baptist, 5606 Wade Road, Baytown, TX

Cobb Elementary School, 915 Dell Dale Street, Channelview, TX

Crosby Branch Library, 135 Hare Rd, Crosby TX

Drew Elementary School, 223 Red Oak Avenue, Crosby, TX

East Park Baptist Church, 8602 Tidwell Road, Houston, TX

Faith Christian Center, 10118 Tidwell Road, Houston, TX

First Baptist Church of Jacinto City, 10701 Wiggins Street, Jacinto City, TX

Galena Park ISD Administration Building, 14705 Woodforest Blvd, Houston, TX

Greater True Light Baptist Church, 6828 Annunciation Street, Houston, TX

Highlands Community Center, 604 Highland Woods Drive, Highlands, TX

Indian Shores Community Center, 20700 Block of Appaloosa Trail, Crosby, TX

Jersey Village City Hall, 16327 Lakeview Dr, Jersey Village, TX

Kingwood Branch Library, Bens View Ln., Kingwood, TX

Lone Star College- Atascocita Center, 15903 W. Lake Houston Pkwy, Houston, TX

North Channel Branch Library, Wallisville Rd, Houston, TX

Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding St., Bldg #4, Houston, TX

Octavia Fields Branch Library, 1503 South Houston Ave, Humble, TX

Prairie View A&M University – Northwest, 9449 Grant Rd, Houston, TX

Expert Report of Douglas J. Anderson, RAS, CASP, LCM Architects (August 8, 2018)

Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Rd. Houston, TX

Bayland Park Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet St., Houston, TX

Bear Creek Park Community Center, 3055 Bear Creek Park Drive, Houston, TX

Bella Vita Clubhouse, 1548 B N. Riviera Circle, Pearland, TX

Carter G Woodson School, 10720 Southview Street, Houston, TX

Cloverland Park Community Center, 11800 Scott Street, Houston, TX

Crestmont Park Community Center, 5200 Selinsky Road, Houston, TX

Golfcrest Elementary School, 7414 Fairway Drive, Houston, TX

Greater Lighthouse Church, 4514 Knoxville Street, Houston, TX

Harris County Mud 81 Building, 805 Hidden Canyon Road, Katy, TX

Harris County Public Health Building, 2223 West Loop South Fwy, 1st Floor, Houston, TX

IBEW 66 Building, 4345 Allen Genoa Rd., Pasadena, TX

James H. Law Elementary School, 12401 South Coast Drive, Houston, TX

Jones Future Academy, 7414 Saint Lo Road, Houston, TX

Juergen's Hall Community Center, 26026 Hempstead Hwy., Cypress, TX

Katy Branch, Harris County Public Library, 5414 Franz Road, Katy, TX

Liestman Elementary School, 7610 Synott Road, Houston, TX

Living Faith Baptist Church, 4310 Holloway Drive, Houston, TX

Lone Star College - Cypress Center, 19710 Clay Road, Katy, TX

Mahaney Elementary School, 13215 High Star Drive, Houston, TX

Martin Elementary School, 11718 Hendon Lane, Houston, TX

Mayde Creek MUD Community Center, 19600 Misty Cove Drive, Houston, TX

Memorial Parkway Community Association Clubhouse, 21600 Cimarron Parkway, Houston, TX

Reagan Webb Mading Elementary School, 8511 Crestmont Street, Houston, TX

Richard & Meg Weekley Community Center, 8440 Greenhouse Road, Cypress, TX

South Belt Elementary School, 1801 Riverstone Ranch Road, Houston, TX

SPJST Lodge #88, 1435 Beall St., Houston, TX

St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, 10960 Martin Luther King Blvd, Houston, TX

Sunnyside Park Community Center, 3502 Bellfort Street, Houston, TX

Sylvan Rodriguez Jr. Elementary School, 5858 Chimney Rock Road, Houston, TX

The Crossing Community Church, 3225 W. Orem Drive, Houston, TX

Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 West Center Drive, Houston, TX

Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road, Houston, TX

Vincent Miller Intermediate School, 1002 Fairmont Pkwy, Pasadena, TX

Whidby Elementary School, 7625 Springhill Street, Houston, TX