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Signatures lost in translation?

candidate sees electoral language barrier

May 03, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Sometimes, the candidates who don't make the ballot symbolize the challenges of our electoral system better than those who do.

In this case, the issue is Ralph Perez, who sought to be a candidate for Worcester County Sheriff. He does not think he has enough valid signatures (1,000) to make this year's ballot. The deadline was last week, and he said many of his signatures from the heavily-Hispanic neighborhoods he petitioned in were rejected. That was certainly true of the pages he filed in Southbridge, where the town clerk's office nixed 138 of his 231 signatures.

To Perez, however, the real problem isn't the numbers, it's the letters — specifically, the fact the nomination papers were not available in Spanish.

"This is a big issue for us," he said. "We've been disenfranchised and the law's going to look the other way. Ö Do I have to hire a lawyer to do my civic duty?"

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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