Court rules bilingual ballots must be printed in some New Jersey districts

An Appellate Court panel has handed the New Jersey State Democratic Committee a victory.

Monday’s ruling instructs that in districts where Spanish is the primary language of at least 10 percent of registered voters, they must print ballots in both English and Spanish. State law already dictates sample ballots must be printed in both Spanish and English in these districts.

The original case began a few days before Dover’s primary election in June of last year.

Dover Democratic Committee Chairman Edward Correa filed an order arguing that the ballots should be printed in Spanish in addition to English. The county clerk denied Correa’s request ahead of the 2018 election.

“I am very pleased with the Appellate Panel’s decision in this matter,” said Correa, in a statement released by the Democratic State Committee. “However, I want to be very clear that this decision is not just a victory for the civil rights of Hispanic voters in Dover and Morris County; rather, it is a victory for democracy and the principles that make us, as a nation of immigrants, a beacon of light, respect, and freedom in the world.”

The State Democratic Committee joined the suit and ACLU-NJ signed an amicus brief.

“Today’s ruling is a tremendous victory for the Hispanic and Latino communities that will ensure Spanish speaking voters can fairly participate in the Democratic process on Election Day,” said New Jersey Democratic State Committee Latino Caucus Chairwoman Arlene Quiñones Perez in a statement. “Not having these bilingual ballots readily available was an injustice that threatened the outcome of elections.”

The court’s opinion takes effect immediately.