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Treasure Coast election office making last-minute changes to sample ballots

Posted at 7:04 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 08:51:47-04

A Federal Judge ruled Friday that 32 counties in Florida will have to join the rest of the state in sending out Spanish-language sample ballots to all registered voters.

Included in that ruling is St. Lucie County where Gertrude Walker has served as Supervisor of Elections in for 40 years, but now her system is going to have to change.

"We will be mailing to every registered voter a sample ballot that includes a Spanish-language sample ballot," she said.

This comes after a federal judge ruled 32 counties must start providing Spanish-language sample ballots to help Puerto Ricans who are eligible to vote in Florida.

"It is quite a challenge to get this taken care of in this short amount of time," Walker said.

She's now looking into hiring a professional translator and she'll have to print around 200,000 more ballots.

"And it is going to be an additional costs to the budget," she said.

But Raul Irizarry who is the president of the Treasure Coast Puerto Rican Parade says this change is needed.

"It's going to be something great for the Spanish community because many of these communities that migrate because many of them are limited in the English language," he said.

He thinks sending a Spanish ballot will encourage more Puerto Ricans to vote in this upcoming election.

"Learn about the candidates and learn about the people that are going to make the difference," he said.

Walker says she may have to ask the county for additional funds. But the ballots will get completed.

"Every vote is important and no one should be denied that right to vote simply because they do not understand the English language," she said.

Walker said they are hoping to mail out the sample ballots within the next 10 days.