This Seems Kind Of Wrong of the Day: Arizona’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling issued by a lower court ordering the removal of a San Luis city council candidate’s name from the ballot because she wasn’t sufficiently fluent in English.
Alejandrina Cabrera is an American citizen who was born in Yuma, but raised in Mexico for a number of years before returning to Arizona at 17. She admits that her Spanish is much stronger than her English, but says can speak as well as she needs to.
But how much does she really need to? According to the most recent census data, 98.7% of San Luis residents are of Hispanic descent, and 87% speak a foreign language at home.
San Luis’s mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla disagreed with Cabrera’s assessment that her English “is good enough to hold public office in San Luis.” It was he who filed a lawsuit with Yuma County Superior Court, alleging Cabrera’s poor grasp of the English language precluded her from running.
The court sided with the mayor after she failed to pass a test administered by a sociolinguistics expert.
“When [the judge] took my right to be on the ballot, he took away the right of the people who want to vote for me,” Cabrera said in reaction to the ruling. The executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Arturo Vargas, agrees.
“I think it should be up to the voters to decide what kind of representative they want,” he told CNN. “I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to not be able, to not allow someone to present themselves to the voters as a candidate because of their language abilities.”
English has been the official language of Arizona since 2006.
[yumasun / cnn.]