Maricopa County Elections Office Error a "Dark Political Art," Declares Rachel Maddow
It's elections season, which means it's time for claims of "voter suppression" across the country -- claims that will also become convenient excuses after a given candidate loses their election.
That said, it's not too surprising that MSNBC jumped on the Spanish error printed on a handful of elections-registration documents here in Maricopa County, but according to talking head Rachel Maddow, it's a "dark political art."
-Maricopa County Elections Department Prints Wrong Date in Spanish on a Few Documents; Voter-Suppression Theories Follow
Unless Maddow's privy to the inner workings of the county elections department, that accusation is baseless.
As you may recall, differing voting dates were printed on the papers that the voter-registration card is punched out of. The erroneous information -- telling Spanish-speaking voters that election day is 8 de Noviembre, instead of the 6th -- was only given out to people who picked up an updated card from one of the county's three offices.
An elections-office spokeswoman told New Times only about 50 people pick these up in-person every year, and it's not likely that these erroneous forms were being handed out for a whole year, but the elections department doesn't know exactly how long they were used.
Moreover, you'd have to consider how many of those people are Spanish-speakers, and how many people relied on that information alone. So, it's certainly within the realm of possibility that more than 50 people will try to vote two days late, and it's certainly possible that zero people will show up to the polls after the election based on that information.
"Will those people get the right information somehow? Nobody knows," Maddow says in the segment, which you can see below. "Whether it's by mistake, or lack of effort, or outright intent, creating confusion is its own form of voter suppression."
According to our highly unscientific reader poll, most people found the error suspicious, but county elections department spokeswoman Yvonne Reed assured New Times it was a simple mistake, and there's "really nothing there."
On the other hand, here's your eight minute clip of Maddow telling her viewers that voter suppression is going on all over the country, including Maricopa County:
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.