Emails: Election officials knew of poor translation

The official who coordinated the Division of Election’s Yup’ik language program knew the translation for a radio announcement was off but suggested ignoring it anyway.

Emails entered as exhibits during a federal voting rights trial include a 2009 back-and-forth between the division’s then-language coordinator in Bethel, Dorie Wassilie, and her boss, Shelly Growden. The emails came in the midst of a prior lawsuit, settled in 2010.

Wassilie, in her email, said the division would be criticized if the plaintiffs caught the rough translation but said it’s a similar word. Growden said she thought it would be fine.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that instead of the 2009 radio notices saying “absentee voting,” it said “to be voting for a long time.”