Training sessions planned in September for interested persons
Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner is inviting registered voters who are able to read and speak English and Spanish fluently to become part of his Election Day team.
“Bilingual poll workers are needed at the polls to ensure that Spanish-speaking voters are able to exercise their rights to vote without any language barriers,” a news release explains. A federal court order issued earlier this year and a subsequent directive from the Florida Secretary of State require supervisors of elections to provide Spanish language election materials, including ballots and translation assistance at the polls, beginning with the March 17, 2020 Presidential Preference Primary Election, the release points out.
“In anticipation of large voter turnout in the 2020 election year, it becomes ever more imperative to ensure that all voters have access to the ballot,” Turner said in the release.
The elections office is looking for bilingual voters to work at designated precincts not just for the March 17 Presidential Preference Primary but also for the Aug. 18 primary and the Nov. 3 General Election — and during early voting, prior to each election, the release notes.
To be a poll worker, one must meet the following criteria, the release says:
- Be a U.S. citizen and be registered to vote (or pre-registered) in Sarasota County.
- Be able to read and speak the English language.
- Complete a minimum of three to four hours of training before each election.
- Have transportation to and from the training classes and polling places.
- Be willing to work a minimum of 14 hours on Election Day (beginning at 6 a.m. to help to set up the polling place for voting, and helping to close the polling location after the polls have closed and all voters have voted).
“If you are bilingual and interested in learning more about working at the polls for the 2020 elections and beyond, please attend one of the following orientation sessions scheduled for September 2019,” the release says, stressing that no reservation is necessary:
- Sept 10: 6 p.m. at Selby Public Library, located at 1331 First St. in downtown Sarasota.
- Sept 11: 1 p.m. at William H. Jervey Venice Public Library, located at 300 Nokomis Ave. S. in Venice.
- Sept 18: 6 p.m. at the Shannon Staub Library, located at 4675 Career Lane in North Port, on the Sarasota Technical College campus.
- Sept 19: 1 p.m. at Selby Library, located at 1331 First St. in Sarasota.
“If you are bilingual and registered or pre-registered to vote in Sarasota County, this is an excellent opportunity to serve your community and help maintain the integrity of the election process,” Turner said in the release.