Guzman demands answers about ‘mistake’ potentially taking away the vote of 17,000 Spanish-speaking Berks County residents

READING, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Manuel Guzman issued the following statement today after 17,000 Spanish-speaking voters in Berks County were sent mail-in ballots with an instruction page telling voters their ballot didn’t need to be returned until Nov. 18 instead of the actual due date of Nov. 2.

“People make mistakes, but when a mistake potentially silences the voices of tens of thousands of people, there must be more accountability than essentially shrugging one’s shoulders and saying, ‘My bad.’ We are talking about directly disenfranchising more than 17,000 potential voters in the fastest-growing group of citizens in Berks County – a number equaling more than 5% of the total voter turnout in the November 2020 election. If these people don’t get their votes counted due to this error, then the 2021 General Election numbers cannot be trusted, and we shatter the faith in elections of countless voters who will believe their vote simply doesn’t matter.

“First things first, the county election board needs to do a massive public apology and education effort to personally reach out to every one of these voters and explain the error, and to reach out to every voter to remind them of the correct dates and how to submit their ballots so their voices are heard.

“The people deserve answers. I am demanding an immediate full investigation into how this massive error could have happened – you don’t slip a finger and type ’18’ when you mean to type ‘2.’ And, if this is more than an accident, we need to demand resignations. For my part I am working with state Democratic leadership to convene a Policy Committee hearing in Reading to get the facts we all need to restore public trust. The actions of right-wing extremists in Harrisburg and Washington D.C. show us how fragile our democracy truly is – we cannot afford to shatter democracy in Berks County.”