Election Day volunteer Eduardo Vanderlinde carefully taped arrow signs to the side of Robert C. Dodson Elementary School in Yonkers, N.Y., occasionally glancing up to greet voters streaming into the gymnasium.
Vanderlinde, 34, the bilingual coordinator of the polling site, cast his vote early on Sunday — giving him time to help out Spanish-speakers on Election Day.
“[I had] to wake up at 3:30 a.m. this morning to arrive at the school at 5 to help set up the polling site,” Vanderlinde said, laughing in between yawns. “In the morning it was a little hectic because of the new iPad system we were using to look up the names…but we eventually got the hang of it.”
Vanderlinde said he noticed that there were a number of voters who felt more comfortable when the instructions were explained to them in Spanish.
According to a Pew Research study, the need for bilingual coordinators like Vanderlinde has increased nationwide with the increase in Hispanic voters.
“It’s been the first time I feel the need to personally help out…not even myself but those who don’t have a voice or are intimidated [by the] process,” Vanderlinde said.
As he gave one final look at the signs he had posted, Vanderlinde sighed, watching a few more voters escape the cold and enter the school.
“Voting right now means a lot,” he said. “I know that whoever we vote for is not going to fix the issues we have…it’s going to be a generational repair we need …but as a Democrat, I know especially now that every vote counts.”