Settlement of Voting Rights Act Litigation Ensures Spanish-Language Ballots, Election Materials, and Assistance in 31 Florida Counties for Ten Years

On February 1, 2021, voting rights advocates represented by Altshuler Berzon LLP entered a 10-year settlement agreement with 31 Florida county Supervisors of Elections to provide Spanish-language ballots, election materials, and oral assistance to help ensure that Spanish-speaking voters educated in Puerto Rico and protected by Section 4(e) of the federal Voting Rights Act can vote effectively.  The settlement marks the successful resolution of Marta Rivera Madera, et al. v. Kim Barton (formerly Laurel Lee) (formerly Ken Detzner), et al., N.D. Fla. Case No. 1:18-cv-152-MW/GRJ.  The case is one of the largest lawsuits ever brought under Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act, and even before the settlement had already resulted in substantial expansions of access to Spanish-language ballots, election materials, and assistance throughout Florida. 

Under the settlement, 31 Florida county Supervisors of Elections will provide the following Spanish-language services in their counties for the next 10 years:

  • Spanish-language official ballots
  • Spanish-language polling place materials and assistance
  • Spanish-language vote-by-mail ballots and request forms
  • Spanish-language secrecy envelopes (including voter’s certificates) and instructions with all Spanish-language vote-by-mail ballots
  • Spanish-language translation of the Supervisor’s official websites
  • A county-specific hotline to assist Spanish-speaking voters during voting periods
  • Spanish-language signage at the Supervisor’s offices informing voters of the availability of these Spanish-language resources

The full settlement and motion to dismiss pursuant to the settlement can be found here and here.

For a summary of the history of the case, previous injunctive relief won before the 2018 and 2020 elections, and statewide rules adopted in response to this litigation in the spring of 2020 that now require Spanish-language ballots across the entire state of Florida, see here.