Latino voters protest county recorder's misprint of election date on Spanish handout

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- An election misprint has caused a rift between the Maricopa County recorder and some Latino voters. Tuesday afternoon, a group of demonstrators rallied at the office with a calendar, accusing Recorder Helen Purcell of trying to suppress the Hispanic vote.

The Maricopa County Elections Department confirms that it printed the wrong date for Nov. 6 Election Day on 2,000 of 3,000 bookmarks made available to voters. The incorrect date of Nov. 8 was only printed on the Spanish language side of the handout.

This comes after controversy about what the elections office said about people going door to door collecting ballots -- whether or not that was allowed. Many get-out-the-vote groups in the Latino community are doing that, so it caused some confusion. But last week, elections department spokeswoman Yvonne Reed said that it's no problem.

"If someone gives you their ballot and asks you to drop it off for them, there's nothing wrong with that," Reed said.

People working with groups like Mi Familia Vota have made it their life's work to mobilize Latino voters, so hiccups like these are frustrating.

"I take them for their word when they say that it's a mistake," said Mi Familia Vota State Director Francisco Heredia. "But we want to make sure. What steps are being taken so that individuals have the right information at their disposal?"

Mi Familia Vota isn't waiting to hear from the elections office, and they're taking it upon themselves through phone calls and door-to-door visits to make sure people know when and where to vote.

"We're working with county elections to make sure that everybody, especially our Latino community, has the right information so they can cast their ballot," Heredia said.

Tuesday afternoon, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox announced that she asked the county recorder to put out a series of TV advertisements to promote the correct date of Election Day in the wake of the misprint. There is no word if Purcell has agreed to it.

Response from Maricopa County Elections Department