Lehigh County seeking bilingual poll workers and interpreters for Election Day

Written by on October 15, 2020

 Lehigh County seeking bilingual poll workers and interpreters for Election Day

By Genesis Ortega

October 15, 2020

Please be patient: We most likely won’t know the results of the Nov. 3 election in Pa. and across the country for several days. Find out more about how WLVR News will cover election night and after.

Lehigh County is looking for bilingual workers and interpreters to work the polls on Election Day. WLVR’s Genesis Ortega has more on local efforts to make voting accessible for Spanish-speaking residents. 

About 81,000 Latinos will be eligible to vote in Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district this year, which includes all of Lehigh and Northampton counties, according to the Pew Research Center.

Muhlenberg College Spanish professor Erika Sutherland says Lehigh County is one of only three in the Commonwealth required to offer accommodations to their Spanish-speaking voters. 

“It’s actually a federal law that stipulates that there be bilingual access to materials in a language wherever there is more than 5% of the population of a precinct speaking a language other than English.”

Sutherland says Lehigh County has 94 precincts that meet this bar.

She says while federal law doesn’t require having a physical bilingual person at the polls, they’ve found it’s a real benefit. 

“They can also help really be a welcoming presence to make the experience a positive one for first-time voters or for voters with limited English capacity.”

Muhlenberg College is hosting three-hour training sessions at the end of this month which will prepare poll workers for what to expect on Nov. 3. 

Those looking for more information, or to get involved as an interpreter, can visit www.lehighcounty.org,

For more information, people can call 610-782-3194 or email Erika Sutherland at erikasutherland@muhlenberg.edu

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