AALDEF to Conduct 14-State Election Monitoring and Exit Polling of 10K Asian American Voters in 2012 Elections

Monday, Nov 5, 2012

November 5, 2012 -- The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) will dispatch over 800 attorneys, law students, and community volunteers to 14 states to document voter problems on Election Day. AALDEF will also conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll in 13 languages to get a snapshot of Asian American voting preferences.

For the first time, AALDEF and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) are partners on the new Asian American Election Eve Poll, a 50-state survey of 800 Asian American voters. Initial results will be released on Election Day. This information will be among the earliest Election Day data released on Asian American voters.

"In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and its devastating effects, we have been working overtime to ensure that our election monitoring and exit polling program continues unimpeded," said Margaret Fung, AALDEF Executive Director. "AALDEF has documented Asian American voter preferences and barriers to vote for the last 24 years. The recent disaster demonstrates the importance of ensuring that all eligible Asian Americans can exercise their right to vote."

AALDEF plans to poll 10,000 Asian American voters on Election Day in the following states with large Asian American populations:  New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, California, and Washington, D.C.

AALDEF volunteers will be present in several areas dramatically affected by Hurricane Sandy. In particular, New York City's Chinatown was among the hardest hit by the storm. In the aftermath of power outages, most residents lost electricity, phone service, running water, and access to public transit.

"It is important to document how the storm has affected Asian American voters, both through our Election Eve Poll and Election Day exit polls," said Fung.

AALDEF will also be accepting reports of voting barriers via a multilingual hotline (800-966-5946), by e-mail at votingcomplaints@aaldef.org, and on Twitter with #asianvote2012.


Responding to a wave of new state voter identification and proof of citizenship laws, AALDEF will monitor approximately 100 poll sites to ensure 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, jurisdictions in which Asian-language assistance is provided, and sites where Asian Americans have reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections. 

Volunteer attorneys will check on the availability of Asian-language ballots, interpreters, signs, and voting materials, and whether provisional ballots are offered to voters whose names are not in voter lists. Attorneys will monitor to ensure that voter identification requirements are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner.

Last week, AALDEF submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice urging the Attorney General to appoint federal election monitors in light of hundreds of complaints reported by Asian American voters in past elections, including those documented in AALDEF's new report on the obstacles faced by Asian Americans during the 2012 Presidential primaries.

"Asian American voters have reported hostile and racist comments from poll workers, incorrect translations of ballots, and other discriminatory treatment at the polls," said Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF Democracy Program Director. "New citizens and limited English proficient voters are particularly at risk. This year we have the additional concern of the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the election. AALDEF will guard against the disenfranchisement of Asian American voters."


AALDEF will conduct a nonpartisan exit poll of Asian American voters in 13 languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Tagalog, Khmer, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and Gujarati. Voters will be asked about their preferences in the Presidential and local races, 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. 

In the 2008 Presidential Election, AALDEF polled 16,665 Asian American voters in 11 states -- the largest poll of its kind in the nation.


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, by e-mail at votingcomplaints@aaldef.org, or on Twitter with #asianvote2012.


Ujala Sehgal
212.966.5932 ex.217

AALDEF is partnering with over 80 national and local groups to mobilize volunteer attorneys, law students, college students, and community activists on Election Day:

National Co-Sponsors:

Alliance of South Asian American Labor

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Vote!

Common Cause

East Coast Asian American Student Union

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law

National Asian American Association of Professionals

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

National Education Association

National Korean American Service & Education Consortium

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

North American South Asian Bar Association

OCA (formerly the Organization of Chinese Americans)

South Asian Americans Leading Together

Legal Co-Sponsors:

American Univ. School of Law, Human Rights Clinic

Asian American Bar Association of Houston 

Asian American Bar Association of New York

Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts

Asian American Legal Advocacy Center, Inc. of Georgia

Asian Bar Association of Las Vegas

Asian Pacific Am. Bar Assoc. of Greater Washington DC

Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania

Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida

Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of NJ    

Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center - DC

Columbia Law School, APALSA

Filipino American Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc. - NY

Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association 

Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit

Korean American Bar Association of the Greater Washington DC Area

Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater NY

Louisiana Asian Pacific American Bar Association 

Muslim American Bar Association of New York

Northeastern School of Law, Asian American Center

Pace University School of Law, Public Interest Office - NY

Rutgers School of Law-Newark, APALSA - NJ

South Asian Bar Association of New York

South Asian Bar Association of Washington, DC

Suffolk University Law School, Public Interest Office

University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Public Interest Office and APALSA

Local Co-Sponsors:


APIA Vote- Michigan Chapter

Asian American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia

Asian American Society of Central Virginia

Asian Community Development Corporation - MA

Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition - MA

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance - NV Chapter

Boat People SOS Delaware Valley - PA

Boston College, Asian Caucus


Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia

Center for Pan Asian Community Services - GA

Chhaya CDC - NY

Chinese-American Planning Council - NY

Chinese Community Federation of Atlanta - GA

Chinese Progressive Association - MA

Coalition of Asian Pacific American of Virginia

Committee of 70 - PA

Hunter College/CUNY, Asian American Studies Program - NY

Korean American Civic Empowerment of NY/NJ

Korean American Resource and Cultural Center - IL

Minkwon Center for Community Action - NY

National Asian American Association of Professionals Philadelphia Chapter - PA

National Asian American Association of Professionals New York Chapter - NY 

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum - DC Chapter

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum - NYC Chapter

Northeastern University, Asian American Center - MA

OCA Georgia Chapter

OCA Greater Houston Chapter

OCA Greater Philadelphia Chapter

OCA Greater Washington DC Chapter

OCA Northern Virginia Chapter

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition

Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation - PA

Princeton Asian American Students Association - NJ

Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. (QARI)

University of Maryland, College Park, Asian American Studies Program

University of Massachusetts Boston, Asian American Studies Program

Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans.  By combining litigation, advocacy, education and organizing. AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.


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