Texas Election Judge Speaks Out
By: Carolyn Hileman
Many of my readers know that I am an election judge in the state of Texas, a position I had taken pride in since 2000. However, as of now I will refuse that position for the following reasons. The election before last the one about Gay marriage we were told that we must have a Spanish speaking interpreter. This was not something our state, our party or our local tax office was going to provide us but something we must find for our selves. I managed to find one for that election and did not think much of it until the last election when our Tax assessor told us that we MUST have one at the polling place and that if we did not and the state election board showed up at our polling place it did not matter if everything thing else was perfect if we did not have an interpreter they would shut down our polling place and that he could possibly lose his job.
My main problem with this new ruling is that it puts undo burden on election judges who only get paid the day of the election and not very much as it is. Second we are being told to put our name on an election that we can no longer say was handled professionally. The reason that I am saying that is that the majority of the election judges from both parties do not speak Spanish and since we can not speak nor understand the language we have no idea what our Spanish clerk is saying to the voter and cannot say in all honesty that the election was handled appropriately. Also another problem is that this is nothing more than state sanctioned discrimination. I say this simply because any time you favor one group of people over another it is discrimination pure and simple. We are not being asked or required to find interpreters for any other language and we all know that there are other nationalities who would like to have their languages spoken and written on the ballot.
The biggest problem with this ruling and their subsequent threats is that it will effectively disenfranchise a major portion of our voting population to accommodate one single nationality. They have reportedly told the man who trains us for the elections that if we do not have a Spanish interpreter, they will shut down our election. When that happens either those people will be forced to travel across town to vote or they simply will not be able to vote. Letâ€™s remember it does not matter if every other part of the election is perfect, it does not matter at all, and all that matters is that we have some one there to speak the Spanish language. Tell me if you can that there is not something wrong with this picture. This is not something that I am willing to put my name to, simply because I cannot say that I ran a proper election if I can not understand the instruction being given to the Hispanic voters.
What happens for instance if you thought you had an interpreter and they donâ€™t show up, what happens if they had to go home early because of an emergency? This is a ridiculous ruling that can only cause more harm than good, take for instance if they decide as a group that they are simply going to stay home hence May1st. Voting places around the state would simply be shut down. I do not know what other states are doing about this but the state of Texas is just wrong on this ruling and it seriously needs to be addressed, until it is I will not be an election judge.
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