A California Reader Confronts A Multilingual Challenge At His Polling Place
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06/10/06 - Saturday's Letters: Arizona Chairman, Proposition 200, Says Internet Impacting GOP, Immigration Debate; etc.

From:  Eric Kessler

When I arrived at my polling place for the June 6th election, the first worker that I interacted with could barely speak English

He was a Vietnamese, apparently there for the benefit of non-English speaking Vietnamese voters.  I told him my name but when he had trouble understanding it, I showed him my registration letter. 

Despite the fact that the letter was written in five languages (English, Spanish, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese), he still had trouble finding my name.

Another poll worker pointed to the letter and asked him, "Okay, now what's his first name?" 

The Vietnamese said, "His first name is Bumoto."  "Bumoto" is the Filipino word for "vote"; it was sandwiched in between the Spanish word for "vote" and the Vietnamese word for "vote"

The other poll worker said: "No, that's not his first name."  The Vietnamese seemed challenged mentally as well as linguistically. 

It took him quite some time to find me in the voter registration book, even when the book was finally opened to the correct page.

Even countries that are officially bilingual or multilingual have more competent poll workers than we do in California.

VDARE.COM note: Read Kessler's previous letters about the Mexican military on the border, irritating telemarketing calls in Spanish, and "Christophobia" here, here and here.

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