A federal judge ordered 32 Florida counties to provide ballots in Spanish beginning next year, stating that failure to do so would be a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
The order was in the form of a preliminary injunction in a case brought by voters who were educated in Puerto Rico and are lacking proficiency in English, The Palm Beach Post reported.
“Compliance with this Order is not optional,” Chief Judge Mark Walker of the Northern District of Florida Gainesville Division wrote in a Friday ruling. “This Court will not hesitate to use every tool the law provides to enforce this Order.”
Judge Walker reportedly noted that Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act “prohibits English-only elections for those citizens — yes, citizens — educated in
Puerto Rico in Spanish.” (emphasis in original) Therefore, he ordered that the 32 counties in question must provide voters with ballots in Spanish starting with Florida’s primary election scheduled for March 17, 2020.
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