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Long Beach : Ballot Translations Left Out

May 26, 1988

The Long Beach city clerk's office is spending $8,800 to produce a sample ballot supplement because of a printing error that omitted the Spanish translations of two candidates' statements.

City Clerk Shelba Powell said her office and the Lakewood printer of the statements are equally to blame for leaving out the Spanish translations of the statements by mayoral candidate Jan Hall and 8th District council hopeful Jeff Kellogg that were included in the sample ballot mailed last week.

Hall, a councilwoman running against Mayor Ernie Kell in the June 7 election, said the printing mistake caused misunderstanding in the Latino community and may have cost her votes. She has formally asked City Prosecutor John Vander Lans to investigate how the error occurred.

"The Hispanic community has basically been disenfranchised," Hall said. "I don't know who the fall guy is, but I pay."

Powell said the error was jointly due to the private printing contractor's failure to retrieve the Spanish translations from a computer and her office staff's failure to account for all the statements. The cost of the error is being split between the city and the printer, Martin & Chapman Co. of Lakewood, she said.

To save money, the two missing Spanish translations will be mailed to the 130,000 residences of voters, not to all 175,000 registered voters, Powell said.

Scott Martin, president of the printing company, said Tuesday that he is unsure how the error occurred. In the last month, he said, his company has printed about 3 million sample ballots for elections throughout Southern California. It has printed Long Beach ballots for 33 years.

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