At the Malcolm Ross Senior Center at Northwest 28th Street and 18th Avenue in the heavily Hispanic neighborhood of Allapattah, only one of the seven poll workers was bilingual, causing some prospective voters to complain.
"I always request a bilingual person here because this neighborhood is totally Hispanic," said clerk Edith Harder, who said she had worked at the Precinct 591 voting site site since 2008. "I requested another bilingual poll worker, because now we need at least two. This election is busy. They were waiting for me when I got here at 5:30 this morning."
Across the street at the polling place at Juan Pablo Duerte Park, assistant clerk Bridget Nunez said that seven of her 11 poll workers were bilingual. She said some voters had come over from the Malcolm Ross Center asking if they could vote at her polling place so that they could get help in Spanish. Nunez, of course, had to tell them that they could not, as it was a different precinct.
Miami-Dade Elections department Administrative Trouble Shooter Deidre Davis said she did not know why there were not for bilingual workers at Malcolm Ross.
"I don't believe they know the demographics are one way or the other," Davis said.
Jacob Coker of Election Protection, a nonpartisan, nonprofit voter protection group, said his group had also had complaints that there were not enough bilingual workers at the voting site at Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church in Miami Gardens. He said they had also had complaints that polling sites were not allowing volunteers from Election Protection to assist with translation after voters had asked for their help.
“All precincts are staffed with poll workers representative of the community,” said Carolina Lopez, spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade County supervisor of elections.
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