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TheHill.com – Austa Somvichian-Clausen – 02/13/20 – “In 2016, I remember watching the election debates and the captioning was so badly delayed that it wasn’t matching the topics shown on-screen,” says Kriston Lee Pumphrey, Community Engagement Manager for Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD). “The myriad of controversial topics just made it a roller coaster ride of frustration. I remember thinking, ‘If only we could have live interpreters on-screen.’” Pumphrey isn’t alone. According to CSD, many deaf people in the United States are eligible to vote but do not have access to important voting registration materials and elections information in ASL, their primary language. Many polling stations lack staff who are fluent in ASL. These are necessary for deaf people to make informed choices and exercise their full civic rights. On Wednesday, the CSD announced the expansion of its SignVote campaign — a nonpartisan platform designed to help inform and increase voter engagement among the deaf community throughout the 2020 elections. “For many of us who are deaf, American Sign Language is our natural language, so when conversations on politics happen…it can be mentally and morally draining to be given bread crumbs in the form of delayed or inaccurate captioning. We want to go to the polls as truly informed voters,” Pumphrey says. Speaking for himself and the deaf community, he says that the consideration of deaf people in the voting process, “would mean that we are being recognized as fully capable and valued members of society — that we aren’t broken. Just different.” Visit SignVote.org NOTE: This article does not endorse any party. It is meant to help deaf people gain access to information. Please vote according to your personal beliefs.

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