Friday, October 27, 2006

Philly in Hot Voting Water ...

Interesting story out of Illtown, already beseiged by a homicide wave and a budget crisis (Philadelphia Tribune's Regan Toomer is scheduled to talk some more about that on Tuesday, 10.31.06 ASCENT Perspectives). We find it interesting that in a city with a Black mayor and a population nearly half African American, there would be alleged violations of Latino voting rights. Either Mayor John Street (D) is still asleep on his watch or this is - once again - another somewhat fishy attempt to encourage Republican gains in heavily Democratic Philly:

Two weeks before Election Day, the city is fighting an attempt by the U.S. Justice Department to appoint federal observers for Philadelphia elections beginning Nov. 7 and lasting past next year's presidential race, until the end of 2009.

The effort to appoint the observers stems from a lawsuit filed by the federal government 14 days ago alleging that the city has violated the rights of its Hispanic voters.

Specifically, it charges that the city hasn't adequately recruited and trained bilingual poll workers, failed to provide sufficient election-related materials in Spanish, and prohibited Hispanic voters with limited English from choosing someone to help them inside the voting booth, which law permits.