Changes coming to Sarasota and Manatee County polling locations

Judge Orders Spanish-Language Ballots in 32 Counties

SARASOTA (WWSB) - There will be changes the next time Manatee and Sarasota County voters go to the ballot box to vote.

A ruling filed by a federal judge Friday requires 32 counties in Florida to provide Spanish-language ballots to Spanish speaking voters.

The ruling is a result of a lawsuit filed against the state of Florida by Spanish speaking residents. The order will require Spanish-language ballots and Spanish-language voter assistance to be offered at polls within the counties impacted.

The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections said it will cost around $300,000 to implement the change. That cost would include printing ballots, signs, and voter registrations in Spanish.

"I'm against it. I firmly believe we're not helping people. If we want people to acclimate into our society, for example, if all you speak is Creole, you come to Manatee County looking for jobs, I can't hire you," said Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett.

Bennett said throughout the coming weeks and months, they will work to have these changes in place by the Presidential Preference Primary which will take place in March of next year. The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections said they also will work to figure out the changes they will have to make to implement the order.

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