Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Follow-Up: AALDEF Asian Language Voter Help, Protection Today

In addition to the previous post from APIAVote, this last-minute re-announcement from AALDEF is worthy of noting, keeping with you, and sharing with limited-English friends and acquaintances. -- THE EDITORS

* * *
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 that it will dispatch over 1,300 attorneys, law students and community volunteers to 11 states to document voter problems in the November 4th elections. AALDEF will also conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll in 12 languages to get a snapshot of Asian American voting preferences, in light of the surge in newly-registered voters and expected high turnout in this Presidential election.

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, Nevada, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.

AALDEF will monitor over 130 poll sites for compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act. These polling places are in areas with large numbers of newly-registered Asian American voters; jurisdictions in which Asian-language assistance is provided; and sites where Asian Americans have reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections. Volunteer attorneys will check to see whether Asian-language voting assistance has been 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.

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 12 languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Tagalog, Khmer, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, 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 poll 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.

ELECTION PROTECTION WEB CAMPAIGN: http://www.aaldef.org/vote2008
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. They include a new Asian American Election Protection homepage, http://www.aaldef.org/vote2008; videos on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/user/aaldef, and a new Facebook group: http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23872961251. AALDEF's new election blog, http://aaldef.blogspot.com, will also be updated with reports of voter problems and the preliminary results of AALDEF's multilingual exit poll.

AALDEF voting rights coordinator Bryan Lee said: "AALDEF will be expanding all of these new web services with more information about our Asian American Election Protection project on Election Day and beyond."

AALDEF is partnering with 57 national and local groups to mobilize volunteer attorneys, law students, college students and community activists on Election Day:

National Co-Sponsors:
Asian Pacific Islander American Vote
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Korean Amer. Service and Educ. Consortium
North American South Asian Bar Association
Organization of Chinese Americans
South Asian Americans Leading Together

Legal Co-Sponsors:
AU Wash. College of Law, Human Rights Clinic - DC
Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago - IL
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Lawyers Association of MA
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Greater DC
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of PA
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Assoc. of NJ
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center – DC
Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit
Indian American Bar Association of IL
Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater NY
South Asian Bar Association of DC
South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey
South Asian Bar Association of New York
South Asian Bar Association of Michigan
U. Penn. School of Law, Public Interest Office
Temple U. School of Law, Public Interest Office - PA

Local Co-Sponsors:
Asian American LEAD - DC
Asian American Society of Central Virginia
Asian Community Development Corporation of Boston-MA
Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition – MA
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia - PA
Conference for Asian Pacific American Leadership – DC
Chinatown Voter Education Alliance – NY
Chinese American Voters Association – NY
Chinese Progressive Association – MA
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia
Committee of 70 - PA
Filipino American Human Services Inc. – NY
Hunter College/CUNY, Asian American Studies Program
Korean American Coalition – DC
Korean American Voters’ Council of NY/NJ
Korean American Resource & Cultural Center - IL
Korean Community Service Center of Greater DC
Maryland Vietnamese American Mutual Association – MD
Mass VOTE - MA
National Association of Korean Americans - DC
One Lowell - MA
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation - PA
Sikh Coalition – NY
South Asian Youth Action! – NY
U. Maryland Asian American Studies Program
Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development - MD
Vietnamese American Mutual Association - MD
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Assoc. of New Orleans - LA
YKASEC:Empowering Korean American Communities–NY
# # #

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that
protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education and
organizing. AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.