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Beyond Borders

A blog about immigration in the New York region

Westchester letter to voters, in Spanish, has election date wrong

October
31

The Spanish-language translation of a letter to voters, sent out by the Westchester County Board of Elections, has a certain error: the wrong date for the general election. County officials say they’re planning a round of bilingual, automated calls tomorrow to clarify the date.

The letter notifies voters about the availability at the polls of ballot marking devices, the new voting machines that will accommodate those with special needs. The English version notes the correct date for the general election, Nov.4, but the attached Spanish version puts the date at Nov. 9.

The Board of Elections failed to catch the error, Deputy County Executive Larry Schwartz said. The phone calls are meant to clear up any confusion that might result, he said, adding that he doubted anyone was unaware that Tuesday’s the day.

“If you don’t know Election Day is Nov. 4, I think you’ve been sleeping for quite some time,” he said. The county will call voters in Cortlandt, Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Peekskill and Scarsdale, and additional areas if the need arises.

This comes as Westchester remains under a consent decree meant to ensure Spanish-language assistance at the polls and in written material.

The Westchester Hispanic Coalition contacted the Board of Elections today after hearing of the mistake.

“We’re happy that they’re moving quickly, and that they’ve admitted the mistake immediately,” said supervising attorney Patrick Young. “But we do hope that in the future they will give the same scrutiny to what’s put out in Spanish as to what’s put out in English.”

As new citizens, immigrants tend to be idealistic about American democracy, he said. “It’s extremely important that we not give them any reason to think that our democracy is
anything other that completely honest and above-board,” he said.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 31st, 2008 at 4:15 pm by Leah Rae. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Election Day, Spanish, Uncategorized, voting rights, Westchester, Westchester Board of Elections

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