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More Controversy With Spanish Translation In Arizona

Maricopa County is again under the magnifying glass of the national media. For the second time in two weeks, a misprinted date for the general election has been discovered on Spanish-translated documents.

The first error was made on a portion of Spanish-translated voter materials. Although it met the wrath of national media, Rachel Maddow going as far to call it a “dark political art,” officials believed fewer than 50 voters actually saw the documents.

However, more than 50 people will see the second erroneous date, this time printed on Spanish-language bookmarks with a wider distribution. Again, the date for the general election stated Nov. 8 (instead of the correct Nov. 6). reported the story and the official explanation of the error:

The latest disclosure: Maricopa County printed the incorrect general-election date in Spanish-language text on roughly 2,000 educational bookmarks distributed at voter-outreach events and handed out over the counter at three designated county Recorder’s Office locations. The bookmarks list dates for coming elections.
Bookmarks were printed three per page, and the error appeared on two of three on each page despite having been proofread, said Yvonne Reed, county Elections Department spokeswoman. The bookmarks were printed by early February, updating a template from the year before, Reed said. Last year’s November election was on Nov. 8, perhaps explaining the mistake.

In a press advisory, Maricopa County County Recorder Helen Purcell responded to accusations from critics.

Concerning the regrettable error on the Spanish-language Voter ID and bookmark: I wish I could say we never made a mistake in this office. But we do. However, the suggestion that this office would be a party to a dark conspiracy to depress voter turnout among any constituency or ethnic group is contrary to the history, the commitment and ideals of this office, my staff and my life’s work. It is simply a malicious lie. We have dedicated decades of the highest public service to expand voter participation. A former President once described the vote as the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice. We agree and our professional careers attest to that high mission.