Press Release

AALDEF to Poll Asian American Voters and Monitor New York City Primary Elections


Multilingual Voter Hotline: 800-966-5946

New York City–The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 35-year old national civil rights organization, announced that it will dispatch over 75 attorneys, law students and community volunteers to poll sites in 4 City Council Districts to document voter problems in the September 15th Primary Elections. AALDEF will also conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll in 3 languages to get a snapshot of Asian American voting preferences.

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 these important local elections.”


AALDEF will monitor over 20 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, in which Asian-language assistance is required by federal law, and where Asian Americans have reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections. Volunteer attorneys will observe 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 AALDEF’s settlement against New York for past violations of the Voting Rights Act.

Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney, said, “In the 2008 Presidential Election, Asian Americans had to overcome numerous obstacles to exercise their right to vote. AALDEF volunteers identified interpreter shortages 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 3 languages: English, Chinese, and Korean. Voters will be asked their preferences in the Comptroller, Public Advocate and City Council Districts 1 (Chinatown/Lower East Side), 19 (Bayside), 20 (Flushing), and 25 (Jackson Heights), 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. Several Asian American candidates are running for City Council and the citywide office of Comptroller this year.

The AALDEF exit poll reveals vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys. In the 2008 Presidential election, AALDEF polled 16,665 Asian American voters in 11 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

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

Asian American Bar Association of New York
Chhaya CDC – NY
Hunter College/CUNY, Asian American Studies Program
Korean American Association of Greater New York
Korean American Lawyers’ Association of Greater New York
Korean American League for Civic Action – NY
Korean American Voters’ Council of NY/NJ
Muslim Bar Association of New York
The Sikh Coalition – NY
South Asian Bar Association of New York
South Asian Youth Action! – NY
YKASEC: Empowering Korean American Community – NY

**For more information:
**Margaret Fung
Executive Director
212.966.5932 ext. 201

Glenn D. Magpantay
Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 ext. 206