Compliance with Madera v. Detzner
My office was provided with a copy of Judge Walker’s November 5, 2018 order concerning Duval County’s compliance with his earlier preliminary injunction order. It is also under current review by our legal team.
While comment is typically minimal due to the pending litigation, it is important to provide a few points for information.
First, unfortunately, the Court failed to provide either the Florida Secretary of State or any representative from my office an opportunity to respond to Plaintiff’s one-sided allegations before issuing today’s order. Had we been provided an opportunity to respond, we could have described our significant efforts to provide Spanish voters with a Spanish-language sample ballot, including:
1. For the November 6 General Election, we sent out “personal” sample ballots in both English and Spanish to every one of the 494,696 registered voters in Duval County.
2. We published a composite sample ballot in both English and Spanish in the Florida Times-Union (two full pages) and published a Spanish sample ballot in the Spanish language newspaper, Hola Noticias.
3. Our Call Center employs two Spanish translators who interface with the Precinct Managers and provide Spanish language assistance to voters.
4. We have employed 10 Spanish translators to work the polls on Election Day. We place them at precincts where we expect a large concentration of Spanish speaking voters.
5. Our website has the Spanish sample ballot available
6. The AutoMark voting system will read the ballot to the voter in Spanish. Each Early Voting site and each precinct had and will have at least one AutoMark for use by Spanish-speaking voters
7. On Election Day, all 199 Precincts will have that precinct’s specific ballot style sample(s) posted in English and Spanish
In other words, in any venue, location, or direct mail piece where an English sample ballot is available, a Spanish sample ballot available as well.
Any registered voter can go to any one of Duval County’s Early Voting sites and cast his or her ballot during the Early Voting period. If each of Duval County’s 271 ballot styles were posted at the Early Voting sites, any voter desiring to examine his or her sample ballot style would have to locate it among 271 choices. This would result in harmful voter confusion and frustration. It is for this reason that English-language sample ballots are not posted at Early Voting sites. Instead, and at much greater expense, each of Duval County’s 494,696 registered voters was mailed an English and Spanish-language sample ballot personalized to that voter’s precinct, candidates, and issues. So, each Spanish-speaking voter was specifically and personally provided his or her sample ballot in Spanish.
These efforts demonstrate my complete commitment and those of my office to comply with and meet the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act, the Court’s order, and the needs of Duval County residents requiring Spanish language assistance in exercising their right to vote.
Duval County Supervisor of Elections