AALDEF Announces Asian American Election Protection PLANs for 2007
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a national 33-year-old civil rights organization, announced details of its Asian American Election Protection Project for Tuesday, November 6, 2007. Attorneys, law students, and community volunteers will cover thirty poll sites in four states where Asian language assistance is provided and where Asian Americans reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections.
AALDEF will monitor elections in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York for language assistance (ballots, interpreters, signs and voting materials) and non-discriminatory implementation of voter identification requirements.
Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said "We want to ensure that all Asian American voters are able to participate in the electoral process and have their votes counted."
One-hour training sessions for volunteers will take place at the following:
MASSACHUSETTS - Monday, Oct. 29
12 Noon - Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
5:30 PM - Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, 100 Federal St., Downtown Boston, MA
PENNSYLVANIA - Tuesday, Oct. 30
1:00 PM - U.Penn Law School, Chestnut at Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA
9:00 PM - Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA
VIRGINIA Thursday, Nov. 1
6:00 PM - Virginia Justice Center, 6066 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA
WASHINGTON, DC - Friday, Nov. 2
12 Noon - Georgetown Law School, 600 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, DC
3:00 PM - APALRC, 1600 K Street, N.W., Washington, DC
NEW JERSEY and NEW YORK - Monday, Nov. 5
6:00 PM - AALDEF, 99 Hudson St., Lower Manhattan, New York, NY
Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney, said, "In the 2006 midterm elections, Asian Americans had to overcome numerous obstacles to exercise their right to vote. AALDEF volunteers identified mistranslated ballots, interpreter shortages that led to Asian American voters being turned away, 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 is currently involved in several lawsuits to safeguard the voting rights of Asian Americans. In February 2006, AALDEF sued the New York City Board of Elections for violations of the Voting Rights Acts language assistance provisions, which mandate Chinese and Korean ballots and interpreters. AALDEF is also monitoring settlements in the U.S. Department of Justices lawsuit against the cities of Boston and Philadelphia.
AALDEF has monitored elections and conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988, noting the steadily growing involvement of new voters. AALDEFs 2006 exit pollwhich surveyed nearly 5,000 votersrevealed that 13% of Asian Americans surveyed were first-time voters and 43% were limited English proficient.