Arizona Capitol

Senate Passes Legislation to End Distribution of Spanish-Language Election Material

The Arizona Senate passed legislation yesterday that would eliminate Spanish translation of election materials in information booklets distributed by the Secretary of State, first reported by the Yuma Sun.

Russell Pearce acolyte -- or is it wannabe? -- Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, introduced the measure.

Aside from it being an unnecessary and racist bill, it's possibly illegal, or so Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, argues. The bill, she says, runs afoul of the Voting Rights Act -- the 1965 piece of legislation aimed at ending racism at the polls in Arizona and other states.

Sand Land is one of 9 states that needs "preclearance" from the Department of Justice to make any election law changes. The booklets, as they're currently made, have received that preclearance. Smith says his bill doesn't change election law and argues that the state can meet its legal obligations by posting Spanish materials on the Internet.

That probably won't fly with civil rights attorneys at the DOJ if the bill passes, but that isn't the point. This is about intimidating Hispanics into leaving Arizona, one way or another.

The Texas Observer has a piece up about the bill this evening, arguing "folks in power in Arizona don't want anything in their state that doesn't look or sound like they do."

And they'll step over federal law to make sure that happens.

Russell Pearce's infamous SB 1070 bragged on its face that it was about "attrition through enforcement," or forcing Hispanics out by creating an environment so unfriendly to them that they would leave Arizona. Smith is a loyal toad for Pearce in their crusade against immigrants.

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Gregory Pratt
Contact: Gregory Pratt