ASL Interpreters at Presidential Debates

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With the presidential election just around the corner, a key population of voters is being excluded: the Deaf community. 

As a hard of hearing person who is finally old enough to vote, I am carefully following the progress of the debates. However, I (and the rest of the Deaf community) do not have equal access to these live debates. As it is a live stream, closed captioning lags far behind what is being said, leaving me and other voters in the dust. ASL interpreters MUST be provided for events like these. 

An estimated 1,000,000 people in the US are deaf or hard of hearing (Gallaudet University). This large demographic is denied accessibility to the debates. The Deaf community deserves access. We deserve to be as equally informed as hearing citizens in order to make an informed decision regarding who we vote for. 

To the news networks who cover the debates: provide ASL interpreters who are shown in the corner of the screen for the entirety of the event. Do not shut out this key demographic—our voices deserve to be heard, too.