Northeast Florida Elections Supervisors Sued For Lack Of Spanish-Language Resources

Aug 21, 2018
Originally published on August 24, 2018 12:41 pm

Spanish-speaking voters aren’t getting the resources and assistance they need. That’s the charge made in a federal lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and 32 local election supervisors, including four in Northeast Florida.

Hispanic voter advocacy groups asked the counties to provide bilingual voting materials, but they said some declined the request.

The suit argues Florida officials are violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Saint Johns County is one of the counties named in the lawsuit. Elections supervisor Vicky Oaks said only 13 Florida counties are actually required by law to provide ballots in Spanish and hers isn’t one of them.

“St. Johns County’s Hispanic population has not been large enough to have any legal requirements to provide any materials. However, we do have bilingual employees,” she said.

And, she said, they help voters on Election Day. According to recent U.S. Census numbers, St. Johns County’s Latino population growth rate is Florida’s largest over the last decade.

Putnam, Flagler and Clay counties are also named in the suit.

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