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Glendale's voting process did not leave anyone out

May 14, 2013

Kenneth Landon's letter from May 3 is devoid of logic. Landon claims that the city clerk's inability to publish ballots in the Korean-language “disenfranchised” Korean-speaking voters.

There is not a single documented incident of a Korean-speaking Glendale-voter who claims he or she was discouraged from voting because he did not receive a Korean-language ballot. Voter outreach and disenfranchisement are completely different terms. When a government encourages people to vote, that is voter outreach. A government disenfranchises voters when the official or government create unnecessary barriers to voting, such as poll taxes, literacy tests and onerous identity card requirements, to name a few.

The city did deliver Korean-language and Spanish-language ballots to those voters who requested them. The city's inability to send every single voter a Korean-language ballot does not constitute “disenfranchisement.” In contrast, if Korean-language voters needed translators at the polls and the city refused to provide them, even if the city had ample notice of this need, that would possibly constitute disenfranchisement. On the April 2 election the city provided translators to all precincts that requested them.

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Landon's next critique is totally irrational. In Glendale any voter registered in the city could vote for any one of a dozens candidates for three open City Council seats. Glendale voters who were passionate about their candidate voted for only one candidate because that is the most logical method of ensuring that your favorite candidate gets elected to city council. Voting for your first-, second- and third-favorite candidates creates the possibility that your most-favorite candidate won't win the plurality of votes because you have now contributed to the votes of your third-favorites candidate. Voting for your favorite candidate is not “disenfranchisement.”

Glendale has an extremely fair and open election process. It would be great if the city clerk's office could expand its voter outreach programs in this dire municipal budget environment. Critics of the present process need to root their views in reality versus paranoid fantasies.

Harutiun “Harry” Kassakhian, Esq.
Gallup, NM

Editor's Note: The writer is the brother of Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian.

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