Judge Orders English Ballot Printed in Puerto Rico

AP, August 28, 2008

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U.S. Judge Jose A. Fuste agreed with a lawsuit recently filed by two mainland-born Americans living on the island who argued a Spanish-only ballot discriminates against 14 percent of the nearly 4 million inhabitants in Puerto Rico whose first language is English.

Puerto Ricans vote on Nov. 4 for local officials and a nonvoting member of Congress. They are barred from voting for U.S. president even though they are U.S. citizens.

Bilingual ballots were used by political parties in this year’s presidential primaries.

Bilingual ballots are sure to aggravate a small segment of the U.S. territory’s population who view them as an attack on the former Spanish colony’s cultural identity.

In 2003, Spanish again became the primary official language of Puerto Rico and English was given a secondary role.

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