Green Party of Washington State
For immediate release
Thursday, October 27, 2016
The Green Party of Washington State demands immediate correction of Spanish mistranslations in the state’s voting instructions
• Misleading Spanish pamphlets issued by Sec. of State Wyman will deter many Latino voters from voting on Nov. 8, say Greens
• Suppression of votes because of mistranslation violates the Voting Rights Act
The Green Party of Washington State is calling for immediate action to correct mistranslated voting instructions that may deter thousands of Latino voters in the state from voting in the Nov. 8 general election.
Greens said that the official General Election Washington State Voters’ Pamphlets sent out by Secretary of State Kim Wyman include confusing, incorrect, intimidating, and illegal mistranslation of the voting requirements in Washington.
“The Spanish mistranslation is certain to disenfranchise uncounted thousands of fully qualified Washington voters who may be frightened into not voting because of a low-level driving offense or other minor misdemeanor conviction,” said Tim White, member of the Green Party of San Juan County and 10-year election integrity activist who won the statewide court ban on uncertified voting systems.
“Washington Greens — with support from the Green Party of the United States — are demanding immediate steps to correct the errors,” said Tim White.
All 29 of the English editions prominently display correct voting requirements, including: “not under Department of Corrections supervision for a Washington State felony conviction.”
All three Spanish Editions prominently display incorrect voting requirements: “no estar bajo la supervisión del Departamento Correccional a causa de una condena por un delito del estado de Washington”
The literal translation of the Spanish text is “not under the supervision of the Department of Corrections by reason of conviction for an offense in the state of Washington”
Washington’s long-standing legal translation of “felony” in Spanish is “delito grave.” The lesser offense of “misdemeanor” is rendered as “delito menor.”
By itself, “delito” can be variously translated as “sin,” “offense,” or “crime.”
Following the lead of Wyman’s predecessor, Sam Reed, the Office of Secretary of State has been “reaching out” to the Latino community for years by issuing special, “extra” Spanish-only election materials rife with errors, omissions, inconsistencies, and faulty translations that suppress the burgeoning Latino vote.
2016 has seen unprecedented Latino registrations. Whether Washington’s new registrants will follow through and vote depends on whether they view one of Wyman’s official Spanish Voters’ Pamphlet, issued this year in three editions: Franklin County, joint Adams-Yakima Counties, and a statewide version.
“The mistranslation amounts to an anti-Latino voter suppression scheme. It’s not just a dirty trick, it’s a federal offense, because Yakima, Adams and Franklin Counties are the three Washington counties currently required under Section 203 of the Federal Voting Rights Act to provide all election materials in Spanish as well as English,” said Jody Grage of the Green Party of Washington State Coordinating Council.
The Green Party is demanding the following emergency measures to minimize the state’s disenfranchisement of the Latino electorate:
• A public apology from Secretary of State Kim Wyman to the state’s Hispanic citizenry.
• Recall and destruction of the illegal pamphlets.
• Correction of the online versions on the Secretary of State’s website.
• Review of all Spanish language web pages on the Secretary of State’s website and “MyVote” system.
• Identical review of Chinese and Vietnamese election materials issued for King County (Seattle), which is covered for those languages under the Voting Rights Act.
• Review of all “optional” and “outreach” election materials issued in additional languages.
• State-wide multilingual television, radio, newspaper and internet campaign to inform voters of the false information, and the correct requirements for voting.
The links below display fully documented side-by-side comparisons of English and Spanish editions. The Spanish mistranslation below is pasted from page 4 of the official 2016 General Election Voters Pamphlet, Edition 32: Statewide (Spanish). The identical false information is prominently printed on the same page 4 of the Spanish Edition Voters’ Pamphlets for VRA-covered jurisdictions:
Edition 1 (Spanish): Adams, Yakima
Edition 1 (English): Adams, Yakima