June 3, 2012 - Riverside County hopes for bilingual help at polls
Title: Riverside County hopes for bilingual help at polls
Date: June 3, 2012
Written by: Erica Felci, The Desert Sun
As part of an ongoing effort to help Spanish-speaking voters, Riverside County election officials will conduct last-minute training if it means more bilingual workers at the polls Tuesday.
Riverside County hoped to recruit 1,100 bilingual assistants — enough to have at least one at every polling place and two or three in communities with more Latino voters.
As of Thursday, 900 people had come forward.
Registrar Kari Verjil said that's still enough recruits to be properly staffed at the polls. But in case people can't make it, the registrar's office will keep accepting volunteers through Monday.
“Especially elections in June, it's more difficult to recruit poll workers,” Verjil said. “Kids are just getting out of school and it's always a little bit harder.”
Riverside County election officials have, in recent years, been extremely keen on providing more assistance to voters who don't consider English their primary language.
In 2010, Riverside County and the federal justice department settled a lawsuit that centered on whether Spanish-speaking voters were getting the proper language assistance.
That year, federal officials came to Riverside County and counties in New Jersey and South Dakota to ensure compliance with the Voters Rights Act and other statutes.
Verjil said the county regularly reports back to the Justice Department and has been meeting all federal requirements.
Cast your ballot
Tuesday is the primary election, so don't forget to make your voice heard:
• Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Can't wait to vote? Swing by Westfield Palm Desert from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today to cast your ballot early.
• If you still have your vote-by-mail ballot, don't bother with the stamp because it might not make it to Riverside by deadline.
Instead, you should drop your ballot off at participating city clerk offices, county-run libraries or any polling place on election day.
Additional information can be found on the Riverside County registrar's website: www.voteinfo.net
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