Tuesday, October 21, 2008

AALDEF APA Election Protection and Polling Project Underway

AALDEF Announces Plans for Asian American Election Protection Project and 11-State Multilingual Exit Poll for November 2008 Elections
New Web Campaign Launched on Facebook and YouTube
Multilingual Voter Hotline: 800-966-5946

New York City...The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 34-year old national civil rights organization, announced details of its Asian American Election Protection Project
and nonpartisan multilingual exit poll for the November 4, 2008 elections. Attorneys, law students, and community volunteers will cover 200 poll sites in 11 states with these characteristics: 1) areas with a surge in newly-registered Asian American voters; 2) jurisdictions in which Asian-language assistance is provided; or 3) polling places where Asian Americans have reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections.

Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said: “We want to ensure that all eligible Asian Americans can participate in the electoral process and have their votes counted in this critical Presidential election.”

She said that AALDEF plans to poll 15,000 Asian American voters on Election Day in 11 states with large Asian American populations: New York, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.


AALDEF will monitor 200 poll sites for compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act. Volunteer attorneys check to see whether Asian-language voting assistance is provided (such as ballots, interpreters, signs and voting materials), whether voter identification requirements are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner, and whether provisional ballots are offered to voters whose names are not in voter lists. Attorneys will also monitor settlements in recent lawsuits against New York, Boston, and Philadelphia for past violations of the Voting Rights Act. AALDEF will offer 25 volunteer trainings in 15 cities. Volunteers can sign up to attend workshops at www.aaldef.org/vote2008.

Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney, said, “In the 2006 midterm elections, Asian Americans had to overcome numerous obstacles to exercise their right to vote. AALDEF volunteers identified mistranslated ballots, interpreter shortages that led to Asian American voters being turned away, and poll workers who made hostile and racist remarks about Asian American voters. AALDEF will guard against the disenfranchisement of new citizens and limited English proficient voters.”


AALDEF will conduct a nonpartisan exit poll of Asian American voters in 10 languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, Hmong, Bengali, Arabic, Punjabi, Urdu, and Gujarati. Voters will be asked their preferences in the Presidential and local races, top reasons for their choices, party affiliations, whether they are first-time voters, use of Asian-language voting assistance, and specific problems encountered at the polls. The AALDEF exit poll reveals vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys. In the 2004 Presidential election, AALDEF polled 10,789 Asian American voters in 8 states--the largest survey of its kind in the nation. AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988, noting the steadily increasing numbers of new citizen and first-time voters.


Multilingual volunteers will be at poll sites to take complaints from voters about election irregularities and other barriers to voting. Voters can also report Election Day problems to AALDEF’s toll-free Election Day Hotline at 800-966-5946, or by e-mail at votingcomplaints@aaldef.org.


AALDEF has launched a new web campaign with tools to encourage voter participation and to recruit volunteers across the country to serve as nonpartisan voting rights monitors in AALDEF's Asian American Election Protection Project.

Visit our new Asian American Election Protection homepage: http://www.aaldef.org/vote2008
See our videos on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/aaldef
Join our new Facebook group: http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23872961251
Get updates from our new election blog: http://aaldef.blogspot.com

AALDEF voting rights coordinator Bryan Lee said: "AALDEF will be updating all of these new web services with more information about our Asian American Election Protection project throughout the month of October."

AALDEF is partnering with several groups to mobilize volunteer attorneys, law students, college students and community activists on Election Day:
Asian American Election Protection Project
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 – Chicago, IL
12 Noon – McDermott Will & Emery LLP, 227 West Monroe St., between Wells and Franklin
6:00 PM – Loyola University School of Law, 25 East Peterson St., at North Michigan Ave.

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008 – Detroit, Bloomington Hills and Ann Arbor, MI
12 Noon – Dickenson Wright LLP, 500 Woodward Ave., at Lamed St., Detroit
3:00 PM – Dickenson Wright LLP, 38525 Woodward Ave. (Route 1) at Lone Pine Rd., Bloomfield Hills
6:00 PM – University of Michigan, Michigan Union, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008 –Princeton, NJ
6:30 PM – Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, 502 Carnegie Center

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008 – New York
6:30 PM - Seyfarth Shaw LLP, 620 8th Ave., between 40th and 41st Strs.

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008 – Washington, DC
6:00 PM – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, 1152 15th St., N.W. at M St.

Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 – Falls Church, VA
6:30 PM – Reed Smith LLP, 3110 Fairview Park Drive

For an updated list of training workshops, go to www.aaldef.org/vote2008.