Arizona Election Date Lost in Translation

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There are many situations in which it’s important to have a correct translation, but when you’re trying to help people access a basic constitutional right, it’s especially crucial to avoid errors.

That’s a why a tiny translation error on official paperwork given out in Spanish along with voter registration cards in Arizona is causing a stir in the United States. The US general election date is November 6th, but on the translated version of the Spanish handout, the date is given as “8 de noviembre,” or the 8th of November. Spanish-speaking voters relying on the paperwork would have showed up at the polls two days late, losing the opportunity to cast a ballot.

Fortunately, the error only affected a small number of voters in Maricopa County. The Department of Elections spokeswoman, Yvonne Reed, told ABC News no harm was intended:

“It’s an honest mistake. Between the time the voter [who caught the mistake] came in to our front counter to get her card and we were notified of the error, the mistake had been corrected.”

The Maricopa County Department of Elections also told ABC News that it believes less than 50 people were given the erroneous hand outs, as the error only affected Spanish-language documents given out over the counter. The vast majority of people have their voter registration cards and the associated documents mailed out to their home address.

Still, Charlotte Walker, the Maricopa County resident who first noticed the error, was concerned about its potential impact. She told ABC News:

“It could have a significant impact on the election outcome because they’d go to the polls on November 8th and they wouldn’t be open. They wouldn’t be able to cast their vote this year.”

Meanwhile, Lydia Guzman, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens and a former employee of the election division of the Arizona secretary of state’s office, told Fox News Latino that the error was unacceptable:

“My concern is what about those disenfranchised voters, they do believe what’s in print , they do, that’s the important part…When its time to print they should have several sets of eyes on the ballot before it goes to print and that’s not what happened here. These kinds of errors are never acceptable.”

It’s hard to argue with that. The fact that the error was caught without affecting many people is a lucky break, indeed.
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