Clean Elections Announces First-ever Adaption of Voter Education Guide in American Sign Language (ASL)

Renown Deaf actress and popular “Sesame Street” personality collaborates on new ASL edition of the guide

Phoenix, AZ - July 10, 2020

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) and the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) announce the inaugural American Sign Language (ASL) edition of the one-of-a-kind Voter Education Guide to coincide with the scheduled July distribution of the printed pamphlet to voter households for the upcoming Primary Election and a planned replication for the General Election. The Voter Education Guide is produced exclusively by the CCEC and contains critical information about the voting process and statements from the candidates running for statewide and legislative office.

“Our Voter Education Guide is the only non-partisan, comprehensive ‘handbook’ that helps voters prepare for the upcoming elections and we are so proud to introduce an ASL edition in time for the 2020 elections,” said Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Chairman, Galen Paton. “Its creation was no small feat because 173 candidates across the state submitted a 200-word statement for inclusion in the guide, but thanks to the commitment of the CCEC staff as well as the expertise of the ACDHH this new ASL guide debuts this month.”

The ASL Voter Education Guide is an assembly of videos that feature Deaf individuals who signed the entire guide. The introductory pages of the Voter Education Guide are signed by Arizona resident Linda Bove who garnered the longest-running series regular role by a Deaf actress on television, as Linda the Librarian on Sesame Street. Ms. Bove, a Certified Deaf Interpreter for more than 20 years was instrumental in the creation of the ASL Voter Education Guide helping direct the talent.

“The ASL edition of the Clean Elections Voter Education Guide increases accessibility, presents critical information in the preferred language of the deaf and hard of hearing community and has the potential to set a new precedent for election information across the U.S.,” said Linda Bove. “On a personal level, this project is especially meaningful because I am registered to vote in Arizona.”

The ASL edition of the guide can be viewed on the CCEC site and is interpreted by Brenda Lee, a graduate of the Phoenix College Interpreter Preparation Program and a board member of the Phoenix Deaf Women Organization; Beca Bailey, the Community Engagement Liaison for the ACDHH and a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work; and Latrina Lewis a veteran elementary school teacher for deaf and hard of hearing, and hearing students, on staff at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind. Each video in the ASL series has closed captioning and audio.

“Many people are surprised to learn that there are more than 1.1 million Arizonans who are deaf or hard of hearing and that American Sign Language is not ‘signed’ English,” said Sherri Collins, Executive Director, Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing. “ASL is an original language and now people who prefer it can obtain voting information in their native language, which is monumental for Deaf and Hard of Hearing voters.”

Subsequently, the Voter Education Guide is printed in English and Spanish and produced in Navajo as well as in an Audio Version through Sun Sounds of Arizona. And starting this year the American Sign Language edition will be a permanent addition.

“Adding the ASL edition this year in particular is timely because it is a presidential election year and because of the many statewide and legislative offices on the ballot,” said Paton.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission was established by Arizona voters to restore citizen participation and confidence in Arizona’s political system, to improve the integrity of State government and to promote freedom of speech under the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions. # # #