Gwinnett hires election head, plans to translate more voting materials

An early voter, who wore gloves to cast their ballot, shows off their sticker at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Office in Lawrenceville, Monday, May 18, 2020. Gwinnett plans to translate more voting materials into additional languages. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM) AJC FILE PHOTO

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An early voter, who wore gloves to cast their ballot, shows off their sticker at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Office in Lawrenceville, Monday, May 18, 2020. Gwinnett plans to translate more voting materials into additional languages. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM) AJC FILE PHOTO

Gwinnett County has hired a new elections supervisor, and the chair of the elections board said Monday that she expects voting materials to be translated into three additional languages beginning next year.

The new elections head is Zach Manifold, an Ohio elections official who served in the state capitol of Columbus. Most recently, he was the deputy chief of staff-external engagement to the Franklin County (Ohio) Auditor, overseeing communications and community outreach, policy and strategic initiatives and consumer services.

Manifold had previously worked as the manager of absentee and early voting in Franklin County, as well as the interim director.

Alice O’Lenick the chair of Gwinnett’s elections board, said Manifold was chosen from about a dozen highly qualified candidates. She said he was concerned about the staff and “had an openness about him” that was appealing to board members.

“We’re excited about him,” O’Lenick said.

She also said the board approved money in its budget to translate sample ballots and other voting materials into Mandarin, Vietnamese and Korean. The county is required by law to conduct election in Spanish and English, but residents have been advocating for better language access for Asian residents with limited English proficiency.

The funds must still be approved by county commissioners for the 2022 budget. O’Lenick said while an outside firm would provide the translations, she hopes a citizen’s committee would be involved in reviewing the translations and ensuring everything is translated correctly.