Marion County Supervisor of Elections rolls out new bilingual ballots

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB)-- Many North Central Florida residents will soon see new bilingual ballots for Spanish speaking residents.

The first will be for Ocala's municipal election next month.

In May a federal judge ruled that 32 counties must now provide Spanish-language ballots and other assistance during elections-- this includes bilingual poll workers and a dedicated phone line for Spanish speaking residents.

Marion, Alachua and 30 other counties across Florida will now offer a Spanish-language ballot to voters in addition to an English one.

But Marion County's Supervisor of Elections, Wesley Wilcox said it doesn't stop there.

"Our polling place signage that says vote here will also have the Spanish translation,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox said it costs roughly 9,000 dollars to update signs, which is a one time purchase.

But when it comes to the printed ballot, it is still unclear how much that would cost.

"If we go back to 2018, where we in Marion County had a two-sided, completely full English, I know we're going to have two sheets of paper front and back and possibly even a third and just on history we're going to probably double our expenses,” Wilcox added.

The Supervisor of Elections is also recruiting bilingual poll works to help in this transition as well.

"We recruit heavily in our more heavily populated Hispanic neighborhoods and we've had for a number of years, a number of election workers who are bilingual,” Wilcox said.

The full implementation date for these language updates is March 2020, so it can be utilized for the next presidential election.

However, the Supervisor of Elections is getting a head start on the practice.

Ocala residents will get to see these upgrades for the city's general election on September 17.

The deadline to register to vote in this election is August 19.