Dodge County in Nebraska will not print its election materials in Spanish although 10 percent of its population is Latino because the county believes their literacy rate is above the national average.

County Clerk Fred Mytty told supervisors during Wednesday's meeting that bilingual ballots are only required if a minority population exceeds 5 percent and has a low literacy rate. While the county surpasses the threshold for the minority population, Mytty said area schools have done a good job of raising the literacy rate so that it's above the national average.

Dodge County does not meet the standard, so for 10 more years (until the 2020 Census) we don't have to worry about the bilingual ballot. We'll save a lot of money over the next 10 years.

- Fred Mytty, County Clerk

"Apparently we've done a good job of educating the Hispanic population in Dodge County. ... I think that's what saved us," Mytty said.

The 2010 Census showed just over 10 percent of Fremont's almost 36,700 residents were Latino, up from just below 5 percent in 2000. The rapid growth led Mytty to look into whether the county would need to print election materials in Spanish, the Fremont Tribune reported.

"Dodge County does not meet the standard, so for 10 more years (until the 2020 Census) we don't have to worry about the bilingual ballot," Mytty said. "We'll save a lot of money over the next 10 years."

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Fremont, the Dodge County seat, has been embroiled in a legal battle over an ordinance targeting illegal residents, most of whom are believed to be Latino. The voter-approved measure prohibits hiring or renting to illegal immigrants. The law is on hold pending a court challenge with a trial set for April.

Mytty said the U.S. Department of Justice has notified Dakota County that is must provide bilingual election materials in light of the newest census numbers. Colfax and Dawson counties have been providing such ballots since at least 2000.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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