ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 11, 2015) — Minn. State Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL-67) has been working on legislation that would increase the number of interpreters at polling places to better serve voters has been working on legislation that would increase the number of interpreters at polling places to better serve voters with language or physical barriers.
The bill – which increases the number of voters an individual may assist in marking a ballot from three to 15 – has seen support from Minneapolis City Council members Blong Yang and Abdi Warsame; St. Paul City Councilman Dai Thao; the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans; the Office of Minnesota Secretary of State; the Hmong Cultural Center; and the Council on Disability.
Sen. Hawj stresses the importance of this bill, as several voters need assistance in marking ballots. Under current law, their ability to do so is often suppressed. Voters with a physical disability or a language barrier will have easier access to assistance in casting their ballot if a person assisting with voting can mark the ballots of more individuals.
“We should make voting more accessible to all eligible voters with language and physical inabilities by allowing poll workers or interpreters to help more people at the polls in a dignified way,” Sen. Hawj said.
The bill was laid over for possible inclusion to an omnibus bill.