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Maricopa County Elections Department Prints Wrong Date in Spanish on a Few Documents; Voter-Suppression Theories Follow

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The Maricopa County Elections Department says a small number of people received a document that listed the wrong election date -- put only in the portion of the document printed in Spanish.

The estimate from the elections office is that fewer than 50 people received this document -- it's likely fewer than that -- but it's already sparked some voter-suppression theories.

Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Yvonne Reed tells New Times that the voting dates in question are printed on the papers that the voter-registration card is punched out of.

Nearly two million people got their cards in the mail, and the voting date is incorrect on zero of those. Reed says 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.

The elections office estimates that fewer than 50 people get cards in-person at the office per year, and although officials don't know how long the 8 de Noviembre information was being distributed, it probably wasn't very long.

The only citizen to inform the elections office about the issue did so last week, and it's since been fixed.

Perhaps due to the fact that the two dates are printed side-by-side -- "NOVEMBER 6, 2012/8 DE NOVIEMBRE 2012" -- there are some people already convinced that this is part of some sort of voter-suppression operation. A few examples of that can be found here, here, and here.

Reed says it was an honest error by the department, and when we quizzed her about the evil Republican plot to confuse Spanish-speaking voters, which we read about on the Internet, she told us there's "really nothing there."

At the very least, the apparent error did give Comedy Central another opportunity to make fun of the "meth lab of democracy," under the headline, "Arizona Creates Special Voting Day for Spanish-Speaking Citizens."


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