A new federal court ruling will require that 32 counties provide sample ballots in English and Spanish. Official ballots, however, are not required in Spanish.
Voters with limited English skills can become familiar with the ballot in Spanish before filling out the official ballot in English, making way for easier election access.
“Have the English ballot, have the Spanish ballot, and then just translate their choices that they put on their Spanish ballot onto the English ballot, which would be the one that they would actually vote,” said T. J. Pyche, the outreach director for the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections.
The Spanish sample ballot is expected to give newly arrived voters from Puerto Rico more opportunity to participate in elections. It’s estimated that more than 100,000 Puerto Ricans relocated to Florida after Hurricane Maria.
Monica Estrada, a certified Spanish teacher, said many voters whose primary language is Spanish don’t participate during elections. She said the importance of the federal ruling goes beyond voting.
“It’s very important to them to know that we support them, and they’re a part of this community,” Estrada said.
Sample ballots will be available through mail or on the supervisor of elections website.