Texas Tribune - With a population greater than that of 26 states, speaking more than 145 languages, Harris County can be a difficult place to make oneself heard. That’s especially true at the ballot box. . .
Following a dust-up last year during which translators crossed the protected zone to approach voters waiting in line, Korean American civic groups and the Harris County Clerk’s Office began searching for a way to make translation services more easily available. The solution was found in an approach communities across the country have begun using to bridge language barriers and help fill gaps in federal voting rights law: putting volunteer translators on the county payroll. That way, if a voter doesn’t bring a translator to the ballot box, there’s someone inside the polling place who can help. . .
Pointing to those types of local efforts helped Korean American advocates and community leaders make their case with the Harris County clerk’s office during a series of meetings this year. And the longevity and growing popularity of Korean American Early Voting Day proved there was a “huge need” that Norman and her cadre of volunteers were trying to address, said Jerry Vattamala, director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s democracy program, who took part in the discussions. . .