The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a New York-based national civil rights organization, will dispatch attorneys and volunteers to document voter problems and the availability of language assistance on Election Day, November 7th, in New York City and Boston for the Mayoral and City Council elections, and in New Jersey and Virginia for the gubernatorial elections.
AALDEF will also conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll to get a snapshot of Asian American candidate preferences, party enrollment, and issues of significance to Asian American voters. Some preliminary exit poll results will be released Tuesday evening.
AALDEF’s poll monitoring efforts take on heightened significance in light of racist postcards and flyers directed against Asian American school board candidates in Edison, NJ and a Sikh American mayoral candidate in Hoboken, NJ. “The attacks on Asian American candidates because of their race are appalling and unacceptable,” said AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung. “Racist campaign appeals have no place in our electoral process, and they must not deter Asian American citizens from exercising their right to vote and electing candidates of their choice.”
Poll monitoring by civil rights groups is also critical in light of the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which weakened the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. AALDEF successfully used the preclearance process in the past to secure bilingual ballots for Chinese American voters and challenge voting barriers faced by Asian New Yorkers.
AALDEF volunteers will be in newly covered jurisdictions that are required by section 203 of the Voting Rights Act to provide mandatory Asian language assistance to voters, including Gujarati in Middlesex County, NJ, Chinese in Malden, MA, and Vietnamese in Fairfax County, VA.
In the 2016 presidential elections, AALDEF polled 13,846 Asian American voters in 14 states with large Asian American populations. AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters and monitored polls in every major election since 1988.
For more information, contact:
Jerry Vattamala, Democracy Program Director
firstname.lastname@example.org, 212.966.5932 x209
Iris Zalun, Voting Rights Organizer
email@example.com, 212.966.5932 x206