Florida counties scrambling after abrupt order mandating bilingual ballots by 2020 primary

MIAMI — Rural counties across Florida are struggling to meet a state mandate to offer bilingual ballots to all its voters in time for March 2020 primary.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, issued the order in April, surprising officials in smaller counties who said that they did not have the money or resources to comply.

The directive requires that the state’s 67 counties make voting accessible to Spanish speakers by offering non-English ballots, sample ballots and voting material. The order came after a lawsuit was filed by several Latino and civil rights organizations, arguing that 32 counties were violating the Voting Rights Act because they had large Latino populations but didn’t offer Spanish-language ballots to its voters.

The judge ruled in favor of the groups, forcing the counties to comply. The governor’s directive covers the other 22 counties not covered by the court order.

Florida has over two million Hispanic registered voters, according to the Florida Division of Elections. (Elina Shirazi/Fox News)

At least 13 counties, including Broward, which includes Fort Lauderdale, and Orange, which includes Orlando, already have bilingual ballots because they have large minority populations and must abide by federal law.

Miami-Dade County has trilingual ballots because it also has

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