Gwinnett needs bilingual poll workers

Feb 01, 2018
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Gwinnett voters line up outside the county’s elections office in Lawrenceville for early voting during the 2016 presidential election. TYLER ESTEP / TYLER.ESTEP@AJC.COM

Gwinnett County is searching for bilingual poll workers to help during the upcoming election season. 

The county’s ability to find workers that speak and read in both English and Spanish will be a key part of compliance with a new federal mandate — and it could play a role in Gwinnett’s decision about offering more advanced voting, too.

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In late 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau for the first time designated Gwinnett County as a jurisdiction required to offer Spanish-language voting materials and assistance, a decision based on the federal Voting Rights Act and the county’s proportion of potential voters who speak Spanish but struggle with English.

In addition to Spanish ballots, registration forms and other documents, the mandate means the county must staff at least one Spanish-speaking poll worker at each poll location whenever it’s open.

That need has also complicated the push for more advance voting come November’s election. Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash has said the county’s ability to offer additional early voting days — like the Sunday voting that some have advocated for — will be directly tied to its success in finding enough bilingual poll workers

“I have a big concern about our ability to have enough poll workers to do what we're mandated to do,” Nash said in December.

Those interested in becoming a bilingual poll worker can fill out an application at Compensation ranges from $75 to $300.

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