The deaf community has been left out in the 2020 presidential debate

A deaf voter aired her frustration on TikTok about the first presidential debate on Wednesday. 

However, her frustration is not about the candidates themselves. 

According to TikTok user Erin, it is about the lack of access for deaf citizens like her. 

Erin, who is now old enough to vote, said she was “trying to watch the presidential debate.”

However, there were no American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, only closed captions (CC) and subtitles, which are not enough. 

According to her, the debate is on live TV, so there are a lot of delays while watching the two Presidential candidates.

“It’s not accessible, it’s not equal access, it’s not right,” she said. 

Erin added that she and everyone in the deaf community “can’t even watch” or understand what’s happening in the debate. 

The first time voter concluded that there is a “need to push for change.” 

The change includes interpreters present in all the debates, and “on screen the whole time.”  

Approximately 1,000,000 individuals or 0.38% of the US population are deaf, per the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

White House Sued for Failing to Provide Sign Language Interpreters 

In August, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed a lawsuit against US President Donald Trump and the White House.

The lawsuit aims to pressure the White House to include American Sign Language(ASL) interpreters during public briefings about COVID-19.

Governors and mayors from fifty states in the US have been providing ASL interpreters during the pandemic’s news briefings, per the lawsuit. 

The action makes it easier for the deaf community to have access to information amid the pandemic. 

However, the White House, the highest office in the country, does not have those. 

The White House’s lack of interpreters denies the deaf community access from top public health experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. 


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