Secretary of State "optimistic" over decision in hotly - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

The Debate: Brunner "optimistic" over decision in hotly contested bilingual ballots

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – Cuyahoga County is still bargaining with the feds over whether it must provide bilingual ballots to voters this fall. The longer these talks go on - the more the issue is heats up.

The United States government wants to print ballots for next month's primary in both English and Spanish.

A top level meeting took place Monday afternoon at the Federal Building since as officials worked to hammer out an agreement. 

This is the third meeting about the issue.

"I'm optimistic that the two sides can reach an agreement," said Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. "I'm seeing great effort put on the part of both sides, I'm seeing flexibility on the part of both sides and this is pivotal for Cleveland."

"There are a lot of aspects to an election," added Brunner. "When you think of a bilingual ballot, most people think, you can read the name on the ballot, but you have things like notifications to voters, you have voter registration, absentee voting, ballot instructions, the ballot language, issues, what may be online. So all of these things, if they're going to cost money for the Board of Elections or if there could be an issue about poll worker training, they have to be discussed among the election officials and those from the Department of Justice."

No decision yet, but they have to make one by the middle of September. That's when the ballots go to printing shop.

The price tag for the county is half a million bucks. It's for about 6,000 county residents who are descendents of people who came from Puerto Rico and have trouble with English.

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