Monroe County BOE looking for ASL, Spanish speaking interpreters & election inspectors ahead of primaries

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — With primary and midterm elections quickly approaching, the Monroe County Board of Elections needs your help in making sure every voice is heard.

Well with primaries coming up next month and after dealing with a lot of COVID concerns and restrictions the past few years the Board of Elections is in need of urgent help when it comes to getting translators and interpreters for voting this year.

“Every year we need to get about 2[,000] to 3000 folks, depending on what we expect to turn out to be,” Republican Commissioner Lisa Nicolay said.

As the Board of Elections gets prepared for another busy election Nicolay said the goal is to have a Spanish-speaking interpreter or election inspector at every site that has a need and about two-thirds of their sites are looking.

“COVID and the days after COVID have made it really, really challenging,” Nicolay said. “Most of the folks that help us on those days are retired, so they tend to be a little bit older. The people that were also most affected by COVID.”

She said it’s part of our civic duty and desire to keep the process fair when it comes to voting.

“The idea of trying to recruit community members to be involved is part of the solution when it comes to elections is critically important,” Chief community engagement officer at Ibero-American Action League Miguel Melendez said.

Melendez said one of the challenges they face is how sporadic and spread out the community is.

“We used to have certain sites where you might have a higher concentration of just from our community—like community of voters,” Melendez said. “Whereas now we’re 60/40. Sixty percent of us are in the city, 40% of us are in the suburbs and those accommodations need to happen everywhere. So that means more bodies, more people working in different polling sites.”

Both said it’s not only Spanish-speaking interpreters and translators they need but many more languages including ASL.

“We do have a high deaf population in Rochester,” Nicolay said. “So it’s not just Hispanic population, it’s many and just assistance in general for helping with elections.”

If you want to help to learn more you can go to the Board of Elections’ website and reach out to them if you’re interested in becoming a translator or election inspector.