SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Springdale high school students will be helping at the polls on election day.
A couple of students from Springdale High School will be using their language skills to help Spanish and Marshallese speaking voters cast their ballots, and they say they’re making their family proud.
Springdale High School students Ninel Manjarrez and Annabelle Bolkeim aren’t old enough to vote on Tuesday, but they are qualified translators. So they’ll be spending a day at precincts during their finals week helping at the polls.
Manjarrez not only helps her Spanish-speaking parents with English, but is certified with the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy. She said helping Spanish-speaking voters at the polls is important for people like her dad who would want to vote, but can’t because of the language barrier.
Bolkeim said she’s been translating for her Marshallese family members since she was younger and realizes the importance of being bilingual more every day.
“I can give my people a voice, kind of since because I know a lot of Marshallese people who have good opinions and strong opinions, but they just don’t know how to word it right,” said Bolkeim.
Five polling locations in Washington County will have bilingual poll workers on election day.
Poll workers like Manjarrez and Bolkeim can assist an unlimited amount of voters. Some of the things they’ll help with include checking in, picking the ballot the voter wants to use, and reading the candidate choices.
Manjarrez and Bolkeim are glad they can help give everyone a voice in the primaries.
“We’re able to voice our opinion and not very many like Spanish- speaking people are able to do that because they can’t, they don’t have the opportunity to,” said Manjarrez.
“To make Marshallese voters more comfortable in being able to come in and see a person who looks like them and someone who can help them understand more, better how the voting process works,” said Bolkeim.
Polling locations with bilingual poll workers include Archer Learning Center, Elmdale Baptist Church, Springdale Civic Center, Springdale Rec Center and Tontitown City Hall.