Miami-Dade Could Print Ballots In Just One Language

Categories: Politicks
Thumbnail image for electionline7.jpg
November's voting lines resembled Soviet bread queues.
On the same day Rick Scott's secretary of state issued a plan to avoid a repeat of November's catastrophic voting delays, a Miami commissioner put out his own, more radical idea: Printing Dade County's ballots in a single language, instead of the lengthy documents in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

Don't worry, though. Commissioner Juan C. Zapata isn't suggesting everyone learn Esperanto or pulling a Deep South move by demanding an English-only ballot. His proposal instead would let voters tell their districts ahead of time what language they want.

County commissioners are scheduled to vote today on Zapata's idea.

On its face, the idea seems sound -- everyone agrees that the absurd length of November's ballot contributed to Miami's lines, which lasted up to seven hours in some places. But Zapata's proposal doesn't specify how voters would tell Elections what language they'd like; it's not clear how much it might add to the costs of elections, either.

Zapata's idea comes after Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced his own proposed changes to the state's elections laws to try to fix the polling problems.

Although Detzner claimed November's elections were "fair," his proposal would undo many of the GOP-led election changes that many blame for the delays. Detzner would set a minimum of eight early voting days, and would give county supervisors the option of adding up to 14 days -- including on the Sunday before elections.

Among the GOP's most widely derided moves was a ban on Sunday early voting -- a day when traditionally black churches in Florida (usually a Democrat-leaning force) often bussed to the polls as a group.

Detzner also backs a 75-word limit on ballot amendments; one reason November's ballot grew to Moby Dick proportions was because of nearly a dozen GOP-sponsored constitutional amendments.

A House subcommittee will vote on whether to send Detzner's proposals to the full House; Zapata's plan, meanwhile, could get preliminary approval from the county commission today.

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My Voice Nation Help

If you can't read and/or write English you shouldn't be allowed to vote. This is AMERICA and we speak ENGLISH here. If you don't like that please return to your preferred third world nation


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drakemallard topcommenter

dmv worker: What language do you speak?
al bundy: I speak the same language as everybody in this country.
dmv worker: Oh. spanish.
al bundy: I don't speak spanish, you idiot.
al bundy: I speak american.
dmv worker:American?
al bundy: American.
dmv worker: Ah. here's one.
dmv worker: I hope you know a lot about towing trailers.

Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

Can somebody give me one LOGICAL explanation on why we waste my hard earned tax dollars on ballots other than English?   And don't anyone use the word "Inclusion" or any of it's derivations.

I speak 3 languages myself but believe that not only is it a waste but it just contributes to the problem of the "Low Information voter"


@Anthonyvop1 While I support the idea of people in America learning basic English, it's unrealistic to expect from everybody the level of fluency necessary to decipher complex ballot questions and obscure government terms. I would prefer that our fellow citizens fully understand what is being proposed, which is best accomplished by having ballots available in the most common local languages. Ballots should be printed on the spot in the language of the voter's choice, rather than lengthening an already sizable document with 3 different languages. 

Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

@Palangana @Anthonyvop1 Frankly if you have been in the USA long enough to garner citizenship but still don't speak English I don't want you voting.

Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

@Al-Amriki @Anthonyvop1 If a person isn't fluent in English how can it be possible for them understand and educate themselves on all the candidates and issues?


@Anthonyvop1 We have the same polarization in English-language media and election resources. There are very few truly impartial resources for election information. 

Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

@Al-Amriki @Anthonyvop1 Seriously?  Are you familiar with Spanish and Creole Language TV and radio?   They make CNN look fair and balanced.


@Anthonyvop1 The same way "we" do. TV, newspapers, online, church, grassroots orgs, friends, facebook, etc...

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