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Colorado launches language assistance line for voters

“Voting should be accessible to every Colorado voter,” Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement.
FILE - Colorado's Democratic incumbent Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks during a news conference in Denver on Oct. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

The Colorado Secretary of State is launching a new language assistance hotline Monday to help voters whose first language isn’t English, the department said in a news release.

Voters whose primary language is Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese or Taiwanese will be able to use the hotline to receive a real-time translation of their ballots from a live interpreter, according to the release. Voters can access the hotline by calling the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office at 303-860-6970, and the department will connect them to interpreters.

The Colorado Language Assistance Hotline will be available through Election Day on Nov. 8:

  • Oct. 17 through Nov. 4: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekdays
  • Nov. 7 and Nov. 8: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At least 16% of Colorado residents don’t speak English at home, according to the latest Census statistics.

“Voting should be accessible to every Colorado voter,” Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement in the news release.

Under the Colorado Statute, the interpretation hotline can be used to help voters fill out the ballot properly, make corrections, fill in ovals, use the ballot envelope, sign the ballot and return it. The hotline can’t be used to interpret Bluebook content or describe the ballot measures.

If a county has at least 2,000 adult citizens, or 2.5% of the population, who speak English “less than very well,” then that county is required to create sample ballots in whatever languages needed, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said. There are currently 20 counties that require sample ballots in other languages, according to the department.

Coloradans can update their voter registration or register to vote through Oct. 31 to receive their ballot in the mail. From Nov. 1 through 7 p.m. on Election Day, voters can receive a ballot, register and vote at a local voting center.