READING, Pa. — With just days left in Pennsylvania's legislative session, a state lawmaker who represents part of Berks County is asking for a response from county officials about the upcoming election. Democrat Rep. Manny Guzman said he wants answers and a plan for how the county will keep the Latino community informed.
Guzman said he believes election issues are silencing thousands of Latinos in Berks County.
"I'm continuing to call for accountability," he told 69 News on Thursday. "I'm continuing to call for transparency, and really just asking our commissioners, what is the plan for this election that is less than 60 days away."
Guzman, speaking with state House Democrats this week, said the push follows years of election issues surrounding the Latino/Spanish community in Berks.
He gave several examples, including the poll book problems that led to delays at some precincts during the most recent primary, and last year, when the county mistakenly sent ballots with the incorrect date of the general election in the Spanish-language instructions.
"During that same election cycle, by the way, they also sent the poll workers who were working on election day the incorrect election date as well," Guzman continued. "Mail-in ballots will soon be mailed out very soon, and so, what is the plan from the Berks County commissioners to ensure that this election process isn't marred by the same mistakes of election cycles in past cycles."
Guzman said with just days left in this legislative session, something must be done to make sure the Latino voice is heard.
"The growing Latino community here within the commonwealth, and in Reading specifically, continues to be disenfranchised," he said. "Well, no longer on my watch and no longer on our watch."
We reached out to the county for comment. A response sent Thursday read:
"The Berks County Commissioners continue to ask for reform to specific items related to Act 77 that will help the November general election run as smoothly as possible. The County of Berks supports starting the pre-canvassing of the mail-in ballots the Saturday before the election. We also strongly support moving the deadline for mail-in and absentee applications from seven days to 15 days before an election. These two reforms would help ease the workload of processing mail-in ballots and ensure timely and complete results.
The County also continues to ask that the General Assembly consult with and work with counties to determine what changes can and need to be made to help strengthen the election process."