AALDEF to poll 5,000 Asian American voters and document voting problems in 11 states on Election Day

Thursday, Oct 30, 2014


Multilingual Voter Hotline: 800-966-5946  

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New York City...The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 40-year old national civil rights organization, will dispatch over 500 attorneys, law students, and community volunteers to 11 states to document voter problems on Election Day. AALDEF will also conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll in 12 languages to get a snapshot of Asian American voting preferences, in light of the increase in newly-registered voters.

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 the critical midterm elections." She said that AALDEF plans to poll 5,000 Asian American voters on Election Day in 11 states with large Asian American populations: New York, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C.

Responding to a wave of new state voter identification and proof of citizenship laws, AALDEF will monitor over 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. Attorneys will check whether Asian-language voting assistance has been provided (such as ballots, interpreters, signs and voting materials) and whether provisional ballots are offered to voters whose names are not in voter lists. Attorneys will report on whether voter identification requirements are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner. 

Jerry Vattamala, AALDEF staff attorney, said, "In the 2012 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 will conduct a nonpartisan exit poll of Asian American voters in 12  languages:  Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Khmer, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu,  Gujarati, and English. Voters will be asked their preferences in the Gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, and Congressional 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.  The AALDEF Asian American Exit Poll reveals vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys. In the 2012 Presidential election, AALDEF polled 9,096 Asian American voters in 14 states--the largest poll of its kind in the nation--and found that among Asian Americans polled:  

- 79% were foreign-born naturalized U.S. citizens; 

- 27% were first-time voters; 

- 37% were limited English proficient; 

- 57% were Democrats, 14% were Republicans; 27% were not enrolled in any political party; 

- 77% voted for Barack Obama and 21% voted for Mitt Romney. 

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 hotline at 800-966-5946, or by e-mail at votingcomplaints@aaldef.org.

AALDEF is partnering with 65 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
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
North American South Asian Bar Association
OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates
South Asian Americans Leading Together

Local Co-Sponsors
APIA Vote - Michigan
Asian American Society of Central Virginia
Boat People SOS Delaware Valley - PA
Boston College Asian Caucus - MA
Brandeis Asian American Student Association - MA
Center for Pan Asian Community Services - GA
Chhaya CDC - NY
Chinese American Planning Council-Youth Division - NY
Chinese Community Federation of Atlanta - GA
Chinese Progressive Association - MA
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia
Columbia University, School of Social Work
CUNY STARR Career Development Center
Hunter College/CUNY, Asian American Studies Program - NY
Korean American Civic Empowerment of NY/NJ
MinKwon Center for Community Action - NY
OCA Georgia Chapter
OCA Greater Houston Chapter
Princeton Asian American Students Association
South Asian Youth Action!
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

Legal Co-Sponsors
Asian American Bar Association of Houston
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Lawyers Association of MA
Asian American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia
Asian Bar Association of Las Vegas - NV
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Washington, DC
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of PA
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Assoc. of NJ
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center - DC
Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association 
Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit
Korean American Bar Association of the Washington DC 
Korean American Lawyers Assoc. of Greater NY
Louisiana Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Muslim Bar Association of New York
South Asian Bar Association of New York 

Law School Co-Sponsors
American University - Public Interest Office/APALSA/SALSA - DC
U. Penn Law School - Public Interest Office/APALSA - PA
Pace Law School, Public Interest Law Center - NY
Suffolk U. Law School, Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service - MA 
Boston College Law School APALSA - MA
Brooklyn Law School APALSA - NY
Cardozo Law APALSA - NY
Columbia Law APALSA - NY
Drexel University Law APALSA - PA
Fordham Law APALSA - NY
Rutgers Law APALSA - NJ
St. Johns Law APALSA - NY
Temple Law APALSA - PA
Temple Law SALSA - PA
U. Michigan Law APALSA - MI
University of Las Vegas APALSA - NV

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For more information, contact:
Jerry Vattamala, Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 x209, jvattamala@aaldef.org

Glenn Magpantay, Democracy Program Director
212.966.5932 x206, gmagpantay@aaldef.org


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