Despite pleas from two Latino rights groups, a Georgia county has rejected a request to provide Spanish-language ballots for the upcoming November elections. Officials in Gwinnett County voted 4-1 against the motion and defended the move by saying they do not have enough information to determine whether the county should provide bilingual ballots and voting materials. The two groups who filed the request – the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) and the New York-based LatinoJustice – cited a provision of the federal Voting Rights Act that requires local governments to make Spanish-language ballots available to people from Puerto Rico who have difficulty reading English. This law was designed to help Puerto Ricans – who are American citizens – who move to mainland of the U.S.
“Unfortunately Gwinnett County chose to continue to be out of compliance with the Voting Rights Act and decided that the Puerto Rican community’s voting rights should not be protected,” GALEO executive director Jerry Gonzalez told Fox News Latino in an email. “We tried to work with the county to come up with an implementation plan to avoid litigation, but the county has refused to move forward in an amicable manner.”