U.S. District Court Orders the Florida Secretary of State to Require Spanish-Language Sample Ballots in 32 Counties

U.S. District Court Orders the Florida Secretary of State to Require Spanish-Language Sample Ballots in 32 Counties

September 7, 2018
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ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IN PART

Here we are again. The clock hits 6:00 a.m. Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” starts playing. Denizens of and visitors to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania eagerly await the groundhog’s prediction. And the state of Florida is alleged to violate federal law in its handling of elections.1

Puerto Ricans are American citizens. Unique among Americans, they are not educated primarily in English—and do not need to be. But, like all American citizens, they possess the fundamental right to vote. The issue in this case is whether Florida officials, consistent with longstanding federal law, must provide assistance to Puerto Rican voters who wish to vote. Under the plain language of the Voting Rights Act, they must.

This Court has considered, after a hearing on September 5, 2018, Defendant Kenneth Detzner’s motion to dismiss, ECF No. 42, and Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. ECF No. 2. Defendant Detzner’s motion is DENIED. Having balanced the equities, Plaintiffs’ motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.2 This Court is issuing this Order on an expedited basis to give the Secretary and the Scott administration ample opportunity to appeal if they seek to block their fellow citizens, many of whom fled after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, from casting meaningful ballots.3

To read the full order, click here

Footnotes

1. Phil Connors, portrayed by Bill Murray, experienced a similar phenomenon. GROUNDHOG DAY (Columbia Pictures Corp. 1993).

2. This Court will address Defendant Barton’s motion to dismiss, as well as the pending motions for class certification, in a separate order after the motions have been fully briefed.

3. As for Defendant Barton’s part, she is already in the process of implementing most or all what this Court orders. 

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