At least two people were allegedly turned away from the polling site at the War Memorial in Danbury Tuesday, according to Ingrid Alvarez-DiMarzo, director of the Danbury Hispanic Center, after asking for help in Spanish.
Alvarez-DiMarzo said two people had complained that after checking in and receiving t heir ballots, they asked an election official for some help, only to be told to go home and come back with someone who speaks English.
Alvarez- iMarzo said she also tried to ask a voting official at the War Memorial for help, in Spanish, and was told “You should speak English.”
“If you are a citizen and a registered voter whether or not you speak English shouldn’t matter,” Alvarez-DiMarzo said. “What really upset me is that none of the other election workers at the table seemed to care about what this woman had just said.”
To make matters worse, Alvarez-DiMarzo said she had made a offer earlier this week to a city voting official to provide bi-lingual volunteers to provide assistance at polling locations. It was an offer that she said was denied.
Republican Registrar of Voters Mary Ann Doran said they do have some Spanish speaking poll workers who are distributed at various locations throughout the city.
Doran said that while Alvarez-DiMarzo had offered volunteers who could assist with voter registration efforts, she doesn’t recall an offer to help at the polls.
The only reason why people may have been turned away from a poll, she added, is if they weren’t registered to vote, in which case they are referred to City Hall where they can cast a ballot in the presidential election only.
Doran said she had a hard time believing that voters were turned away for not speaking English.
“That’s something that I would take very seriously,” she said.