The best thing about voting is playing our role in this grand experiment we call democracy and hopefully improving the future of our world. 

The second best part about voting, perhaps, is the “I voted” sticker you get that you can use to lord over your friends and family by showing what a good citizen you are.

Early voting has already begun for the Nov. 6 midterm elections, and if you’ve made it to the polls and speak Hindi, you might have noticed something a bit off about the multicultural stickers that say “I voted” in several different languages.

The Hindi translation has a typo, according to University of Chicago Prof. Ulrike Stark, who teaches Hindi language and literature in the Dept. of South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

She said in an email that the Hindi is incorrect, “though not in the sense of using a wrong expression.”

“Rather, there’s a typo in the verb, i.e., the vowel sign has been attached to the wrong consonant (this sometimes happens with Devanagari fonts in the transition from one program/medium to another,” Stark said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that someone typed it incorrectly, although that’s also possible.)”

“In any case, although the word ‘dayi’ makes no sense, Hindi speakers will easily be able to figure out that it’s a typo for ‘diya.’ The typo, though embarrassing, doesn’t produce another meaning,” Stark noted.

Stark’s colleague, Jason Grunebaum, a senior lecturer in Hindi at the university, said in an email that he is certain it is a computer, not a human, error. 

“(M)ost Hindi readers will probably have come across this misspelling before, since it’s something that some computers have and still do. It can look fine and be correct in one format, but sometimes when the format is changed—say from Word to PDF or across any number of platforms—it can go screwy,” Grunebaum wrote.

Early voters will receive the stickers at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. — who knows if they’ll still pass them out on Election Day – but Oak Park Village Clerk Vicki Scaman said the faulty stickers came from Cook County.

A spokesman for the county did not immediately return phone calls requesting an interview. 

Early voting continues through Nov. 5. Scaman said there has been a good turnout so far, with about 600 people casting a ballot when early voting began on Oct. 22.

More information about early voting is available at https://www.oak-park.us/news/early-voting-ongoing-village-hall.

Timothy Inklebarger

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