Georgia election precincts struggle to hire bilingual poll workers
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) -The clock is ticking to midterm elections and Republicans and Democrats are making their final push to get the Latino vote in Georgia.
However, right now polling places in certain communities are still struggling to find bilingual poll workers for election night.
Bilingual poll workers are essential because they help voters who don’t speak English on election night.
”I need bilingual poll workers at my poll in Lilburn,” Election Poll Manager Anita Redd said.
The last several months for Anita Redd have been a struggle.
“I have contacted Spanish-speaking churches, I’ve been on Facebook, I have been texting, I have been emailing, I’ve been talking to people in schools where I substitute teach,” Redd said she has been recruiting hard but still needs at least four people who speak a foreign language to work her polling precinct at the Oak Road Lutheran Church in Gwinnett.
”I haven’t been able to find any and get them through the recruiting process.”
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With time running out before election night, she said roughly a quarter of the 3,500 people expected to show up to the Oak Road Lutheran polling precinct are Latino voters, and she’s worried there might be a language barrier if she can’t recruit fast enough.
”They can help interpret, they can answer questions and they can help them through the poll.”
Redd said there are 155 polling precincts in Gwinnett and there has to be at least one Spanish-speaking poll worker at each.
The Gwinnett County Communications Department told Atlanta News First the county elections department is also aggressively recruiting bilingual staff members and even offering $415 incentives to people who speak Spanish.
Meanwhile, Republicans are making their final push to help drive a greater Latino turnout at the polls.
“We have a new center that opened up, the RNC center here in Gwinnett, so we have people who speak Spanish out door knocking. We also have a lot of Hispanic fliers so we’ve got it geared towards them,” GOP voter Sammy Baker said.
Democrats like Raphael Warnock even attended a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration alongside Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students, to let Latinos know he is working for their vote at the polls too.
“Sen. Warnock we know that we have his backing, we know that he’s supporting Temporary Protection Status for Central America, that he will fight to strengthen the DACA program and fight for a more permanent solution, a pathway to citizenship for immigrants,” DACA student and lead organizer for CASA Action Group in Georgia, Alberto Feregrino said.
Redd said if you are interested in working at the polls, you need to fill out the form included in this link and make sure that you fill out an I-9 form and send it back. She also said anyone interested must show proof of a drivers license, passport, or social security card to qualify.
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