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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

¿Hablas democracia? • Full access to the electoral process is the right of all citizens. Not just those who are fluent in the Queen's English. That's why the U.S. Department of Justice insisted on, and Salt Lake County officials have quickly provided, a system that will make it possible for those citizens whose primary language is Spanish to exercise their full rights in this November's election. The county is publishing a version of its voter guide in Spanish, will provide Spanish-language ballots and is making it a point to hire people who speak both English and Spanish to be poll workers. The poll workers aren't an extra expense, as the county needs people at all the balloting stations anyway. But they are still recruiting people to fulfill that function. Interested bilingual people should contact the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office, clerk.slco.org or 385-468-7400.

Age discrimination • It is not that surprising that Scott Howell, the Democratic candidate for Utah's U.S. Senate seat, would be frustrated by the fact that incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch is such a prohibitive favorite for re-election in this, the reddest of all states, and so might be looking for something unusual to be a game changer. But Howell's recurring attack on the senator's age — 78 — the suggestion that he wouldn't live out another six-year term, followed up with a demand that Hatch release five years of "medical records," amount to a personal attack that is below the belt. If Hatch appeared infirm, had missed a lot of votes or committee meetings, or otherwise gave the appearance of being physically or mentally unequal to the task, then his health might be a legitimate issue. But none of those things is true. The 58-year-old challenger also manages to insult the many people who remain hale and hearty well into their 80s. Bad form.

We'll drink to that • After years of consideration and months of debate and tinkering, the Salt Lake City Council has approved an ordinance that will allow neighborhood taverns in a few more locations and dining clubs — restaurants that offer liquor with meals — in still more. The change, long advocated by Mayor Ralph Becker as part of his walkable city initiative, can bring these basic amenities to more neighborhoods. But remaining limits on square footage and distance from residential zones, along with the tight cap on the number of state-issued liquor licenses, should mean that such establishments will still be relatively rare and not likely to impinge on quiet residential neighborhoods. Cheers.

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