Ector County in Need of Bilingual Poll Workers 02/20/14
February 20, 2014
Odessa - The Ector County Elections Office is in dire need of bilingual poll workers. Officials say, with the growing Hispanic population more bilingual clerks are mandated by the state, a requirement that is proving hard to meet. Coordinators have been working for months to solidify almost 100 clerks to work this election cycle, but filling those spots is a huge challenge.
"I usually can find them but for some reason this particular election has been really hard," said Ector County Elections Office bilingual coordinator Amanda Snyder.
Officials say the issues of needing bilingual clerks was highlighted in 2004 when Ector County was slapped with a lawsuit for not having a bilingual representative assist the public at one polling office. At that time, the Department of justice stepped in requiring the county to do a Spanish surname report that determines how many clerks the county needs.
"I have to have 97 clerks, and out of those 97 clerks I have to have 62 of them be bilingual," said Snyder. Thatís almost two thirds of the total amount of clerks needed in the county. But with 38 percent of Ector County voters being Hispanic, many say the requirement to have a bilingual speaker at each poll is necessary, not only to make them feel comfortable, but to avoid intimidation at the voting booth.
"We want them to feel comfortable when they come to the pole so they can cast their vote. They want to exercise their right to vote, that's why they became an American citizen in the first place," said Una Voz Unida President Art Leal.
Midland County officials also say they are having a tough time filling all their clerk positions, however they are only required one bilingual assistant per polling place. Meaning they only need 15 versus Ector County's 62.
If you would like to help out the elections office, there are just three requirements; you must be a registered voter, able to work from six a.m. to seven p.m. and of course be bilingual. To find out more information contact the County Elections office at (432) 498-4030. This is a paid position.