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'I voted' in Tohono O'odham & Spanish added to Pima County's early voting stickers
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'I voted' in Tohono O'odham & Spanish added to Pima County's early voting stickers

  • Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

The Pima County Recorder's Office has sent out stickers saying "I voted" in Tohono O'odham and Spanish, as well as English, with early vote-by-mail ballots. The stickers will also be handed out to in-person voters who cast early ballots.

The stickers with the familiar English statement translated into Spanish and Tohono O’odham under it won't be available at voting centers on Election Day, officials said.

The stickers read “Yo Voté” and “A:ñi ‘ant wodalt” for Spanish and Tohono O’odham, respectively. Although Spanish-speaking voters have a right to access translated voter information, most of Arizona’s Indigenous languages are overlooked by voting laws.

The primary election is on August 2, but Pima County has 15 early voting sites listed online. Voters can still request an early ballot online, and have until July 22 to do so. Election Day voters will receive an English language “I voted” sticker without the translations.

The cost of designing the new stickers was "minimal," the County Recorder's Office told the Tucson Sentinel. It was included under a $8,000 contract with designer Jenni Pagano of Riveted that included designing new voter ID cards, an internal style guide, social media templates, a redesign for voter forms and redesigned templates for the Recorder's website that will appear in December.

“An ‘I Voted’ sticker is an important part of the voting experience,” Pima County officials wrote in a press release. “It allows voters to display their pride in exercising a fundamental, constitutional right and deepens a sense of community while promoting voting culture.”

Pima County doesn’t have enough Tohono O’odham or Yaqui speakers to require voting information be translated into those languages, but the county does provide it to Tohono O'odham speakers because of a positive relationship between the tribe and the Elections Department, the Arizona Mirror reported.

While voting sites on Election Day are operated by the county Elections Department, early voting is overseen by the Recorder's Office.

That office plans to release versions of the sticker than include the Yoeme or Yaqui language, according to officials.

County Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, elected in 2020, is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation and the first Native American to hold a countywide elected office in Pima County.

Stickers that had “I voted” in Tohono O’odham and Spanish separately were available for past elections in Pima County during in-person Early Voting. It was Cázares-Kelly’s decision to feature all three translations on this year’s sticker, according to a county press release.

The Tohono O’odham translation was done by Cázares-Kelly’s brother, Jose “Husi” Cázares, aninstructor in the Native language. Because of "time constraints," Husi did the translation and didn't take part in the sticker's design, so he was not paid by the county.

However, Cázares-Kelly paid her brother for the translation ouf of her own pocket, a Recorder's Office spokesman said.  The Recorder's Office plans to have a Tohono O’odham translator registered as an official Pima County vendor, he said.

More than 32% of Pima County residents are considered Hispanic or Latino, according to county officials, and more than 26% of residents speak another language at home.

“Pima” is what the Tohono O’odham called the county’s namesake tribe, officials wrote. “Arizona” comes from “Alṣon,” or “place of little springs,” and “Tucson” comes from the phrase “S-cuk ṣon,” or “base of the black mountain.”

Pima County is the home of the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe as well as Apache tribal members in the past. Nearly 42% of the county’s area is tribal land for the Yaqui and Tohono O’odham.

Tohono O’odham members live throughout the county, as well as on the reservation, with concentrations living in Ajo, Three Points, South Tucson and Tucson, officials wrote.

Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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