Pennsylvania’s voter info site is useless if you speak Spanish
The “Español” link doesn’t work.
By EMILY DERUY
A state court began hearing arguments today to determine whether requiring Pennsylvania voters to show identification is constitutional. And the state’s voter information page itself has served as fodder for critics of the law.
The site is supposed to be available in English or Spanish. There’s just one catch.
The “Español” button doesn’t work.
Brentin Mock of Color Lines first noticed the glitch, writing, “Reaching out to the Latino population seems not even a thought to [Sec. of State Carol] Aichele’s office, which built a website, votespa.com, to spread awareness about voter laws that has an inoperable link to the Spanish translation of the site.”
He sent this tweet Wednesday afternoon:
Groups such as the NAACP and League of Women Voters have said the law promotes racial profiling, and disproportionately hurts minorities.
Matt Barreto of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality, and Latino Decisions, filed a report on behalf of the plaintiffs that found the law would place a disproportionate burden on Latinos and other minority groups.
The study shows that 1.3 million Pennsylvanians — or over 14 percent of the voter-eligible population — lack government-issued IDs, which is more than double the amount of votes that comprised Obama’s margin of victory in 2008.
IDs issued by licensed long-term care facilities and accredited colleges and universities are also acceptable at polling places, but many are expired, which invalidates them.
Barreto wrote in his report, “Despite the high rates of perceived compliance with the law, a large number of potential voters in Pennsylvania lack a valid photo ID.”
More than 12 percent of those registered to vote lack a valid ID, and 12.6 of those who voted in the 2008 election lack a valid ID.
Many states require photo identification, but 10 states require specific kinds of government-issued identification that can be difficult to obtain. Texas, South Carolina and Florida have all faced questioning by the Department of Justice for their identification requirements.
Providing required paperwork can be costly and would-be voters are often forced to travel for miles to find an open identification-issuing office.
Judges have sided with opponents of voter-identification laws in Missouri and Wisconsin, where judges have used the state constitutions to block law requiring photo identification at voting booths.
Calls to the Pennsylvania State Department for comment regarding the defunct Español website were un-returned. An e-mail inquiry received the following vague reply:
“We’re updating the site,” said spokesman Ronald Ruman. “Hope to have it back up soon.”
(Photos: Screenshots, votesPA.com; Twitter)