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Florida Officials Are Breaking The Law By Not Offering Spanish Ballots, Suit Claims

Sam Levine
The Huffington Post

Stuart Naifeh, a lawyer with the think tank Demos, which is representing Rivera and five nonprofit groups that work to mobilize Spanish-speaking voters, said they chose the 32 counties using census data to identify places where there were high concentrations of Puerto Ricans and people who aren’t proficient in English. In April, lawyers started writing letters to 13 of the counties with the largest Puerto Rican populations and decided to take action after officials in all 13 counties brushed off their concerns.

“The response was basically ‘we don’t think we have that many Puerto Ricans here. If you can provide us specific information about people and where they are in our county, you know we’ll talk to you,’” Naifeh said in an interview. “It seemed to us that they were not taking it seriously and instead of taking responsibility themselves or determining what the needs of their voters were, which is their job, they sort of shifted it to us to tell them who their voters are and what their needs are.” [...]

The provision of the Voting Rights Act at issue in the case has been used to challenge individual counties before, but Naifeh said he was unaware of an earlier case where it had been used to sue so many counties at once.