The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 36-year old New York-based national civil rights organization, announced that it will dispatch 400 attorneys, law students and community volunteers to over 50 poll sites in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Texas to document voting problems in the Nov. 2 elections. AALDEF will also conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll in eight languages to get a snapshot of Asian American voting preferences.
Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said, “With so much at stake in the 2010 midterm elections, we want to ensure that all eligible Asian Americans are able to exercise their right to vote.” She noted that in addition to congressional races, the outcome of several governors’ races could affect the redistricting process as well as national policy debates in the next few years.
AALDEF will monitor over 50 poll sites for compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act. Volunteer attorneys will observe the provision of Asian-language ballots, interpreters, signs
and voting materials, which are required in certain districts; the application of voter identification requirements; and whether provisional ballots are offered to individuals whose names do not appear on voter lists.
Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF Democracy Program Director 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.”
MULTILINGUAL EXIT POLL
AALDEF will conduct a nonpartisan exit poll of Asian American voters in eight languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, Bengali, Punjabi, and Urdu. Voters will be asked about their candidate preferences in races for Governor, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives. Asian Americans will be asked whether they are first-time voters, the top issues influencing their vote, party enrollment, use of Asian-language voting assistance, and whether they encountered specific problems 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 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 VOTER HOTLINE: 800-966-5946
Multilingual volunteers will be at poll sites to take complaints from voters about election irregularities and barriers to voting. Voters can also report Election Day problems by calling AALDEF’s toll-free Election Day Hotline at 800-966-5946 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AALDEF is partnering with several groups to mobilize volunteer attorneys, law students, college students and community residents on Election Day:
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
South Asian Americans Leading Together
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Studies Program-Hunter College
Korean American Voters’ Council
Filipino American Human Services, Inc.
Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Muslim Bar Association of New York
National Federation of Filipino American Associations-Region One
South Asian Bar Association of New York
South Asian Youth Action
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania
Asian Pacific American Law Student Association at UPenn Law
OCA Greater Philadelphia Chapter
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
Asian Outreach Unit, Greater Boston Legal Services
Asian Community Development Corporation
Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
Chinese Progressive Association
Asian American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia
Center for Pan Asian Community Services
Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association
OCA Georgia Chapter
OCA Greater Houston