Navigating the 2020 election season is a challenge. From extended registration deadlines to early voting to mail-in options, it’s hard to keep up with the changes due to COVID-19. That’s why we’re extending our video remote interpreting (VRI) hours to ensure voters have access to the information they need—regardless of their language.
Why Interpreters Matter
Interpreters help make voting accessible. Limited English Proficiency (LEP) speakers and deaf individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) rely on interpreters to assist them with the process. Below are just three reasons why someone may need an interpreter:
Voter registration rules vary by state. The way you register, the documents you need, and the deadlines all depend on where you live. These rules can be confusing for U.S. natives, but pose an ever hurdle for immigrants who are eligible to vote. Someone from a country with a different system may need an interpreter to walk them through the process. And don’t forget about deaf and voters who rely on ASL and may need assistance.
While ballots are typically translated into multiple languages, it isn’t always enough. People often have questions about what’s on the ballot. Voting on a proposition or an amendment may be new for LEP voters, and they may need an interpreter to explain that portion.
Older voters and those with vision problems may struggle to read what’s on it and need someone to read it to them. Other voters may have limited reading skills. While others still may not even get a ballot in their native language. An interpreter can help by walking them through what’s on it.
Like voter registration, the way you vote depends on where you live. Some states rely on electronic voting machines while others use paper ballots. Since ballots must be filled out and submitted properly, voters may need help following the instructions. Interpreters can help LEP and deaf voters by relaying those instructions and answering any questions they have.
The Advantage of VRI
While onsite interpreting is often the best option, VRI has its advantages. Firstly, it allows for social distancing. Voters who need assistance can access an interpreter without putting themselves—or the interpreter at risk for COVID. Secondly, interpreters are available on request for many languages. While some districts hire interpreters in advance, that isn’t the case everywhere. And finally, voters who speak a less common language can access an interpreter regardless of where they live. An LEP voter who lives in a small town or rural area won’t need to wait for an interpreter who lives several hours away.
Requesting an Interpreter
Fortunately, the Boostlingo platform makes it easy to connect with an interpreter via remote video. All you need is an internet connection and a computer or mobile device with a webcam to get started. Our Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network (BPIN) supports over 200 languages—many of which are available on-demand. For a complete list as of October 2020, click here.
Want to learn more about how Boostlingo can help out this election season? Contact us today!