2016 10 31 Ltr to K.Wyman re WA Voters’ Pamphlet .pdf

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October 31, 2016

Kevin J. Hamilton
KHamilton@perkinscoie.com
D. +1.206.359.8741
F. +1.206.359.9741

BY EMAIL TRANSMISSION AND U.S. MAIL

kim.wyman@sos.wa.gov

Hon. Kim Wyman
Washington Secretary of State
Legislative Building
P.O. Box 40220
Olympia, WA 98504-0220
Re:

Mistranslation of Washington State Voters’ Pamphlet

Dear Secretary Wyman:
We represent the Washington State Democratic Central Committee (“Washington Democrats”).
I write to express our concern about the Washington Secretary of State’s distribution of a 2016
General Election Washington State Voters’ Pamphlet that provides an incorrect and misleading
Spanish translation of voter qualifications in Washington.
You have already publicly acknowledged the error, appear to recognize the importance of
quickly correcting it, and have begun to ameliorate the confusion and harm caused by the
mistranslation, including by sending letters to a small subset of affected voters. These steps,
however, fall far short of what is necessary to correct this frankly egregious error.
It is “the policy of the state of Washington to encourage every eligible person to register to vote
and to participate fully in all elections, and to protect the integrity of the electoral process by
providing equal access to the process while guarding against discrimination and fraud.”
RCW 29A.04.205. Your mistranslated Voter Guide does precisely the opposite -- sending a chill
through Spanish-language speakers throughout our state.
In order to avoid disenfranchising any voters and to encourage maximum participation in this
important democratic process, we ask you that you immediately agree to take the following
additional steps:
1.
By no later than November 2, 2016, send a supplementary mailer to every
household that received the incorrectly translated Voter Guide with a notification
that correctly identifies voter qualifications in Washington in both English and
Spanish.

15934-0001/133458906.5

Hon. Kim Wyman
October 31, 2016
Page 2
2.
Distribute the corrected translation to public libraries that received the
Spanish language Voter Guide.
If you are unwilling to agree to these modest and reasonable steps to promote the franchise and
protect the integrity of the election, my client will consider all of its legal options, including
seeking a court order requiring you to immediately comply with the law.
Very truly yours,

Kevin J. Hamilton
KJH:cma
cc:

Becca Glasgow, Washington Attorney General’s Office
Jaxon Ravens, Democratic State Party Chair

15934-0001/133458906.5


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