September 25, 2012 marks the first annual National Voter Registration Day. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) will conduct a non-partisan voter registration drive in Manhattan’s Chinatown from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm in front of the Canal Street JZNQ subway stop, located on Centre Street between Canal and Walker Streets.
“Our goal is to ensure every eligible Asian American is able to cast a ballot on Election Day,” said Chi-Ser Tran, Voting Rights Organizer with AALDEF’s Democracy Program.
AALDEF is among more than 700 groups working on the ground to register voters on the inauguration of this new national holiday – a single day comprised of massive coordinated efforts to register voters in all 50 states before Election Day. The theme for National Voter Registration Day is “Register in September, make it count in November.”
AALDEF will be providing bilingual volunteers as well as translated registration forms in Chinese, Korean, and Bengali, as required by the Voting Rights Act. October 12 is the last day to register in New York, in order to vote in the November 6 presidential election this year.
In 2008, six million Americans told the Census that they wanted to vote but couldn’t because they didn’t know how to register or missed the deadline. In New York, only 43% of the Asian American voting age population was registered to vote, however, voter turnout of those registered was 83%.
“Asian Americans are becoming increasingly involved in the political process,” said Tran. “When they are registered to vote, they can wield extraordinary power in the democratic process. We are proud to stand up with these 700 organizations in promoting civic engagement within the Asian American community.”