Latino leaders press Pa. for online Spanish translations of voter ID info

Leaders of Philadelphia’s Latino community will gather Friday to ask Pennsylvania to do a more thorough job of translating voter ID instructions into Spanish.

Philadelphia City Commissioner Stephanie Singer is convening the discussion on Spanish translations of voter information.

Her interest started after a staffer stumbled across a problem on a state web page:

“The Spanish page that was supposed to describe the voter ID requirements said, in its entirety, ‘hola,'” Singer recounted with animation. “Hola just means ‘hello!’

“‘Hi,’ in Spanish.”

Representatives of Pennsylvania’s Department of State, which handles the new voter ID requirements taking effect in November, say the website is still under construction. After Singer complained, Spanish text showed up later in the day.

However, Singer says PennDOT’s website has no Spanish-language translation. She says since voters now need photo ID, PennDOT must comply with requirements to translate voter information.

The Department of State says websites of other departments are beyond its reach. Spokesman Ron Ruman said the State Department and its contractor The Bravo Group, intend to meet with minority media in Philadelphia.

“We do all we can to reach every voter that we can to make sure that anyone who wants to vote this fall is able to do so,” Ruman said.

For those looking to the Department of State for material in other languages, Ruman says there is a number to call — listed on the department’s English-language website.

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