After Two Embarrassing Election Date Mistakes in Spanish, Maricopa County Fesses Up

Looks like the recent attention that Maricopa County in Arizona (the same county where Sheriff Joe Arpaio is for running re-election and the same county where over 36,000 new voters were registered to defeat America's Toughest Sheriff) has finally gotten county recorder Helen Purcell to respond. After two errors that listed the incorrect Election Day date in Spanish voting materials had made the Internet and the national press, and after Purcell was issuing "no comment" yesterday about the second error, earlier the county issued a bilingual press statement that tried to clarify what happened.

Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing a tough re-election race this year.

Purcell admits errors were made, but not without vehemently denying that it was some part of a larger conspiracy. Not only were the wrong dates printed on voter materials, but there were also questions of whether a completed ballot "could not be delivered to the post office or the county by anyone other than the person named on the ballot."

Here is what Purcell released today regarding all the controversies:

YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE – MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER HELEN PURCELL
 
October 23, 2012 – It has been a difficult week, but I want to make sure voters in Maricopa County know we consider this office as a sacred trust. We in Maricopa County have dedicated our careers and our lives to protect and expand the citizens’ right to vote. Let me address some misconceptions that have arisen recently; some, unfortunately, of our own making. 
 
First of all, I never said that it is illegal, much less a Class 5 felony, to collect, possess and deliver ballots of voters. Indeed, this office has worked cooperatively with a host of organizations, of all parties and persuasions, to assist voters get their ballots to the polls. We applaud the work of Promise Arizona and other groups in their efforts to register new qualified voters and have their ballots counted. 
 
It is, however, illegal for anyone to falsely represent himself as a Maricopa County Elections Department official.  The County Recorder’s Office is not sending out workers to collect ballots. It is wrong, illegal, a Class 5 felony, to misrepresent yourself as an elections official if you are not. We question why anyone would do that – especially as an attempt to undermine the commendable get-out-the-vote efforts of political parties and community activist groups.
 
Concerning the regrettable error on the Spanish-language Voter ID and bookmark: I wish I could say we never made a mistake in this office. But we do. However, the suggestion that this office would be a party to a dark conspiracy to depress voter turnout among any constituency or ethnic group is contrary to the  history, the commitment and ideals of this office, my staff and my life’s work.  It is simply a malicious lie. We have dedicated decades of the highest public service to expand voter participation. A former President once described the vote as the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice. We agree and our professional careers attest to that high mission. 
 
To that end, we will be launching a very aggressive Spanish language publicity campaign to make sure everyone knows that the election will be held on Tuesday, November 6. Martes, 6 de noviembre. Such a message already appears prominently, in Spanish and English, on the Maricopa County Recorder’s and Elections Department Websites. 
 
Your vote is your voice. We take seriously our responsibility to enable you to use it. 
And now the release in Spanish (typos and mistakes are theirs and not ours). Do these people not know accents and basic Spanish conventions?
SU VOTO ES SU VOZ – REGISTRADORA DEL CONDADO MARICOPA HELEN PURCELL
 
23 de Octubre, 2012 – Ha sido una semana dificil, pero quiero asegurarme de que los votantes en el Condado Maricopa sepan que consideramos esta oficina como un deber sagrado. Nosotros en el Condado Maricopa hemos dedicado nuestras carreras y nuestras vidas a proteger y ampliar el derecho de los ciudadanos a votar. Permitanme abordar algunos conceptos erróneos que han surgido recientemente; algunos, desafortunadamente, de nuestra propia creación. 
 
En primer lugar, nunca dije que es ilegal, mucho menos un delito grave de Clase 5, recopilar, poseer y entregar boletas de votantes. De hecho,esta oficina ha trabajado en cooperación con una serie de organizaciones, de todos los partidos y convicciones, para ayudar a obtener a los votantes sus votos a las urnas. Aplaudimos el trabajo de Promise Arizona y otros grupos en sus esfuerzos para registrar a nuevos votantes calificados y que sus boletas sean contadas.. 
 
Sin embargo, es ilegal, que alguien falsamente se represente a sí mismo como un oficial del Departamento de Elecciones del Condado Maricopa.  La Oficina del Registrador del Condado no está enviando a los trabajadores a recoger boletas. Es erróneo, ilegal, un delito mayor de Clase 5,a tergiversar usted mismo como un oficial de elecciones si no lo es. Nos preguntamos por qué alguien haría eso – especialmente como un intento de socavar los encomiables esfuerzos para promover el voto de partidos politicos y grupos de activistas de la comunidad.
 
Sobre el lamentable error en la Identificación de Votante y el marcador en Español me gustaría poder decir que nunca cometimos un error en esta oficina. Pero lo hacemos. Sin embargo, la sugerencia de que esta oficina sería parte de una obscura conspiración para deprimir la participación electoral entre cualquier circunscripción o grupo étnico es contraria a la historia, el compromiso y los ideales de esta oficina, mi personal y el trabajo de mi vida.  Es simplemente una mentira malintencionada. Hemos dedicado décadas del más alto servicio público a expander la participación de los votantes. Un ex Presidente una vez describió el voto como el instrumento más poderoso jamás diseñado por el hombre para derribar la injusticia. Estamos de acuerdo y nuestra carrera profesional da fé a esa alta misión. 
 
A tal fin, lanzaremos una muy agresiva campaña de publicidad en Español para asegurar que todo el mundo sepa que la elección se llevará a cabo el Martes, 6 de noviembre.  Dicho mensaje aparece ya en un lugar destacado, en Español y en Inglés, en los Sitios Web del Registrador del Condado Maricopa y el Departamento de Elecciones.
 
Su voto es su voz. Tomamos seriamente nuestra responsabilidad para que pueda usarlo.

At least this time, the office got the actual date right in the release. Like we said previously, 6 in Spanish is the same as 6 in English.

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