It’s difficult to write about what Rep. Mike Coffman actually believes these these days, because it’s so hard to sort out how he sounds like he’s changed from how he’s actually changed.
So a tip of the hat to The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch, who did a good job sorting through some of Coffman’s stances, such as they are, over the weekend.
One item deserves clarification.
FBunch reports, accurately, of Coffman:
This is a candidate who in 2011 introduced legislation to repeal portions of the 1973 Voting Rights Act to permit local jurisdictions to decide if ballots could be printed in English only. He noted that English proficiency is a requirement for citizenship. Immigrant advocates saw it as a way to disenfranchise voters.
As of the last election, that’s still Coffman’s position. He still wants to repeal portions of the Voting Rights Act that require bilingual ballots to be provided in areas with large percentages of voters who are not proficient in English.
Saying it’s too expensive, Coffman would eliminate the requirement for offering ballots in languages other than English and, instead, trust local officials to decide whether bilingual ballots are needed, even though the shallowest reading of American history (including a cursory understanding of politics today) reveals that local officials should not be trusted with this decision that affects the basic right to vote.
Coffman once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot.
Now, in a classic example of how he’s sounding nicer without changing his policy stance, Coffman is saying he “would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”
But the Voting Rights Act? We don’t need it telling people what to do on bilingual ballots.