COLORADO SPRINGS — A new hotline in Colorado is allowing voters who don't speak english get help interpreting their ballot. Anyone who needs help can pick up the phone and call the Secretary of State's Office.
The hotline is to ensure that voting is accessible to every registered voter in Colorado, despite language barriers. People who spoke to News5 say this will encourage more voters to get out to the polls and vote in the election.
“Here in Colorado Springs, we are a multicultural city, and so there are so many languages,” said Gloria Martinez.
Martinez is part of the Colorado Latinos vote, which is a non-profit dedicated to voter engagement among the hispanic community
“It has been very hard to get the latinos to register to vote because we're nonpartisan, because they are intimidated,” said Martinez.
However, the new hotline will help Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese speakers. A live interpreter will provide real time translation of the ballot content.
“English might not be their first language, but they are citizens, and they need assistance with regards to the ballot that is usually in english,” said Shelly Roehrs, a spokesperson with the League of Women voters of the Pikes Peak Region.
She says the hotline is another tool to empower voters to vote.
“When we're at a community event, there is at least one person that has that stumbling block to voting, and this is just another tool in our toolbox that is good for them to help them along the way, and answer those questions and not be intimidated,” said Roehrs.
For communities with low voter turnout, like minority communities, they're hoping this will encourage more people to vote in the election.
“I think that's actually where we probably focus most of our attention, is on those communities that have lower voter turnout, and the hispanic community is one of those,” said Roehrs.
To access the hotline, you can call the Secretary of State's office at 303-860-6970, and a staff member will connect you with an interpreter.
“I’m hoping through this program, they'll look and see that we are out there, helping them. We're not pushing party, we’re pushing voting,” said Martinez.
The hotline is available Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm until the day before the election. On Monday, the day before the election and on Election Day, the hotline will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 pm.
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