Spanish ballots and a 64-cent poll tax: Ay, caramba!

Papeletas Bilingues
He recibido voto per correo de hoy. Translation -  I received my absentee ballot in the mail today.

Bowing to the wisdom of the Justice Department, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections promised to have bilingual ballots for this fall's general election at 71 precincts with large Latino populations. I was surprised to learn that I live in a precinct with a large Latino population. Maybe it's because everyone around me speaks English -- at least some version of it.

The damn ballot is confusing and expensive enough. When it comes to filling in the oval, do you do it in English or Spanish? How do I know that the Spanish version of the ballot is an accurate translation of the English version? For that matter, is the English version an accurate translation of the Spanish? Does it matter? Estoy muy cofundido. I like to read every word before I vote. I've already spent an hour trying to comprehend the Spanish. I'm sure my Latino fellow voters would recommend that I learn to speak and write Spanish.

Then there is the cost of mailing an absentee ballot -- 64 cents in postage is required. Smells like a poll tax. I wonder what the Justice Department has to say about that. Let's see, I could drive to my designated polling place -- a four-mile round trip at 30 miles per gallon. Assuming $3.40 per gallon gas , I could drive to vote for 45 cents, a savings of 19 cents. That's more than I'll earn on my savings account next month.

But what if the lines are long? Could my bladder take the stress? Better to pay the poll tax and use the absentee ballot.

Before completing my ballot, I'm going to look for the place where you can make comments. I would like to propose that we give up the territory of Puerto Rico, thus eliminating the problem of its citizens not understanding our English ballots. Failing that, I would suggest that Latinos learn to speak and write English. My father did, and he voted!

No comments: