Latino advocates in Arizona are calling on the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office to correct mistakes that advocates say are misinforming Latino voters. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Latino advocates in Arizona are calling on the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office to correct several mistakes it made this week that advocates say are misinforming Latino voters.
They point out that several Spanish-language voter registration cards recently issued by Maricopa County, where most of Arizona’s Latinos live, had the wrong election date. This mistake angered many Latino leaders from organizations in Arizona that have for months been registering and encouraging Latinos to vote.
“I really would like to believe it wasn’t done intentionally,” Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, said about the incorrect date. “But intentional or not, it impacts our community and it misinforms them.”
He added that it is “upsetting” and “concerning” to see this type of mistake, especially in Arizona where Latinos will play a major role in electing the next president, the U.S. senator who will represent Arizona and the Maricopa County sheriff.
But Yvonne Reed, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, told VOXXI misinformation is spreading about the number of voter cards that have the wrong election date. She said only one Spanish-language voter registration card had Nov. 8, instead of Nov. 6, listed as the date for the elections.
According to Reed, a Hispanic woman came to one of the three election department counters in Maricopa County on Oct. 9 to request a Spanish-language voter registration card. The women notified the department on Oct. 15 that the card had the wrong election date.
The error has been corrected
Reed said a new card was printed out for her on Oct. 16 and that the program that prints the cards “has been corrected.”
Voter registration cards are usually mailed out and about 50 voters visit the election department every year to request a card, just like the Hispanic women did, according to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.
This month, the agency mailed out nearly 2 million new voter cards. Reed said all of those cads “had the correct information.”
Still, Latino advocates say they suspect there were more Spanish-language voter registration cards that were sent out with the wrong election date.
They are also upset over comments Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell made during an interview with CBS 5 News. Purcell told a CBS reporter that the agency had received numerous complaints about people going door to door, claiming that they are representatives from the county and are there to pick up early ballots.
According to the CBS 5 News report, Purcell said no one had been authorized to pick up the ballots and noted that it is a Class 5 felony to posses someone else’s ballot.
“This is somebody’s ballot, somebody’s voted ballot that they’re trying to take custody of,” Purcell told CBS 5 News. “Do I know that they’re going to be turned in? Don’t have any idea.”
Latino advocates say Purcell’s comments are misleading and could discourage Latino voters from giving their ballets to volunteers who are canvasing neighborhoods and offering to pick up and turn in their ballots.
“This confuses people,” Monterroso, of Mi Familia Vota, told VOXXI about Purcell’s comments. “We already have a hard time getting people out to vote and this doesn’t help.”
Organizers with Promise Arizona in Action, an organization that registered 34,327 new voters this year, are asking people to sign a petition calling on Purcell to “correct her false statements and support new voters.”
But Reed, of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, said Purcell’s comments were misunderstood. She clarified that it is a Class 5 felony for people to act like representatives from the county who are authorized to go around picking up ballots from voters.
She said it is not illegal for volunteers to canvass neighborhoods offering voters to turn in their ballots as long as the volunteers don’t misrepresent themselves as being county officials.
She added, “If they want to give their ballot to someone to bring it in for them that’s up to them.”