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NU|ACES Student Spotlight: Gisselle Rodriguez Benitez

By ACES Ambassador Grace Wang

NU|ACES First-Year Participant, 2017 – 2018

Gisselle Rodriguez Benitez is a first year ACES student and an economics major with a minor in computer science who had the unique experience of working election day as an Election Inspector and Translator in Roxbury. After going to the ACES Ambassador’s Voting 101 Workshop in the Fall, she registered to vote in Boston and subsequently received a New Voter Acknowledgment Notice. With that notice came a flyer about applying to be an inspector. Wanting to engage with her community, Gisselle decided to apply and it turned out to be an amazing experience. Read more about her experience below:

What was your experience working as an Election Inspector and Translator like?

Though being at a job by 6am is never ideal, I really enjoyed working with the Boston Elections Department. It both taught me about the elections process and gave me respect for the people who work every year to make elections run as smoothly as possible.

My main tasks were to assist voters with filling their ballots. For some voters that was translating the ballots for them, reading options aloud, or assisting those with disabilities to use the ballot-marking machine available.

What was memorable about your experience?

Considering it was my first-time voting, first-time voters especially resonated with me. Most of these voters were immigrants who have finally obtained citizenship.  The voters who told me it was their first time were visibly elated to be part of this country and of democratic election process. One woman, native to India, thanked more for the “wonderful experience” of voting. We so often take the opportunity to vote for granted, yet this woman could not be happier to be casting her ballot. It made waking up at 6 a.m. during my midterms week very much worth it.

On the days following the election, I could not be prouder of the diversity of our local leaders. The city council is now 6 of 13 members female, and 5 being people of color. It’s incredibly important to have equitable representation to create efficient policy for the neighborhoods of Boston. With 45% of Boston’s population identifying as non-white and several large ethnic groups not represented (like the Latino community, for example) there is room to grow. Yet, I am glad that I live in a city that works towards equal representation of diverse constituency. Moreover, I am really thankful to have made even a small contribution to the process.

Overall, Gisselle encourages everyone to consider working a future election!