Error in Voter Guides Angers Gubernatorial Candidate

Gubernatorial candidate Mohammad Arifof the Peace and Freedom Party is hopping mad that his name is misspelled on the state's official voter information guide for the June 8 primary election.

"I'm very much upset, because I'm working hard on my election," Arif said Friday. "This is no joke, you know."

California 's official voter guide misspells Arif's first name by one letter, spelling it Mohammed, but the result is that voters who search the Internet under that name will not be directed to his campaign website, he said. Instead, Googling Mohammed Arif, meanwhile might get something like this.

Arif, Kern County chairman of the Peace and Freedom Party, has two gubernatorial opponents in the primary. Only one will qualify to compete in the November general election.

Shannan Velayas , spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, said the spelling error has been corrected online but that nothing can be done about the nearly 10 million paper guides that have been distributed.

Velayas said that neither Arif nor anyone else reported the error during the three-week period during which the voter guide is available for public review - Feb. 23 to March 15 - before it is printed.

"Of course the secretary of state's office aims for zero errors in the voters information guide, and proofreads it many times, but the law provides a backstop of public review and a process for any Californian to challenge anything in the guide," she said.

Arif's name will be spelled correctly on the ballot itself, Velayas said.

Arif, who discovered the voter guide error Thursday, said he does not understand how the state can proofread a document numerous times and yet misspell the name of a candidate for governor, the state's top office.

"Of course it will hurt me," he said of the mistake's impact at the polls. "Definitely it will hurt me. ... How could they overlook this?"

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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