Rochester adds ‘language support election judges’ to make polls accessible

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(ABC 6 News) – Poll workers are getting ready for all different types of voters, including voters that speak different languages. In 2020, the city created a new role in elections called a “language support election judge.” The goal was to make it easier for non-English speakers to cast their vote.

Walé Elegbede, President of the Rochester Branch of the NAACP, says he’s noticed city government’s effort to make voting more inclusive.

“What are we doing to make sure that we have more inclusive language to give people information to vote?” Elegbede asked.

However, he says there city has room to grow.

“We’re still making it difficult for people to vote. We still have economic disparities, we still have health equity issues.”

The Rochester City Clerk’s office says since 2020 they have ramped up efforts to get bilingual people interested in becoming election judges. Some languages they are focusing on are Somali, Spanish, and Mandarin.

This election, there are about a dozen language support election judges working throughout Rochester’s close to 80 polling locations.

The clerk’s office also says the League of Minnesota cities is working to change Minnesota law to allow translators to be stationed in polling locations. The city of Rochester and Olmsted County are encouraging all eligible voters to participate in the election tomorrow. Polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm. Below is some election information provided by Olmsted County:

Register to vote on Election Day

If you need to re-register or are not registered to vote, you can register at your designated polling location on Election Day. Information on what you need to bring can be found on the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Find your Election Day polling location
You can find your polling location on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Some helpful Election Day tips are available on the website if you are a new voter. You can also use the Election District Finder tool to determine your election district, who represents you, and candidate information.

Sample ballot and candidate information
Voters can download their sample ballot on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Candidates and questions appearing on the ballot will be listed.