The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), which has monitored the voting rights and political opinions of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988, announced that it will monitor poll sites and conduct exit polls in at least 10 states for the upcoming 2012 elections.
“Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in the U.S., yet many mainstream surveys have routinely overlooked Asian American voters, particularly non-English-speaking Asian American voters,” said Glenn D. Magpantay, Director of the Democracy Program at AALDEF. “When the news media reported on election returns and the vote by specific groups, the Asian American vote was not always reported, which has contributed to elected officials neglecting this politically active constituency.”
AALDEF will send attorneys, law students, and community volunteers to states where there has been a surge in new Asian American voters, Asian language assistance is provided, or Asian Americans reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections.
In the 2008 elections, AALDEF polled almost 17,000 Asian American voters in eleven states and Washington, DC. For the 2012 elections, AALDEF will be conducting an exit poll in Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
AALDEF will also monitor the poll sites for compliance with the Voting Rights Act, including the provision of Asian-language ballots, interpreters, signs, and voting materials, which are required in certain districts. AALDEF will also monitor the application of voter identification and proof of citizenship laws that create discriminatory obstacles for Asian American voters and other voters of color.
“In past elections, Asian American voters have faced a series of barriers including racist remarks from poll workers, ballots mistranslating political parties, and identification requirements applied only to minority voters,” said Margaret Fung, Executive Director. “We want to ensure that Asian Americans and all other American citizens can exercise their fundamental right to vote in this important election.”
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