Election Day 2015: AALDEF monitors polling places in Houston and Philadelphia today

Tuesday, Nov 3, 2015

It's Election Day today, and AALDEF is monitoring the 2015 elections in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana:

Houston, TX - AALDEF is working with OCA-Greater Houston and local volunteers to ensure that poll sites in Harris County provide language assistance to limited English proficient Asian American voters. Harris County is covered under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act and must provide Asian-language ballots, voting materials, and interpreters in Chinese and Vietnamese.
 
Philadelphia, PA - AALDEF is working with Boat People SOS (BPSOS) Delaware Valley, as well as local AALDEF volunteer attorneys, to monitor poll sites in Philadelphia. We are observing how Asian American voters are treated at the polls and reporting on any possible violations of law. AALDEF filed a complaint in 2014 with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, due to the city's failure to provide Asian-language interpreters for the large numbers of limited English proficient Asian American voters in Philadelphia.
 
New Orleans, LA - AALDEF worked with the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) to conduct an Asian American exit poll for the gubernatorial primary election on October 24, 2015.  AALDEF and VAYLA volunteers ensured that limited English proficient Asian American voters were allowed assistance by persons of their choice inside the voting booths, as required by section 208 of the Voting Rights Act. Over 130 Asian American voters completed our voter surveys.
   
AALDEF has also been advocating for translated materials for Asian American voters in Detroit, Michigan; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Washington DC.
 
Since 1988, AALDEF has monitored major elections in several states and conducted a multilingual exit poll of Asian American voters. In the 2012 presidential election, AALDEF polled 9,096 Asian American voters in 38 cities in 14 states. Through the years, we have observed a wide range of barriers affecting Asian American voters, including:
 
- Segregated "Asian only" lines in polling places (Annandale, VA (2012); Boston, MA (2004)) 
- Lack of interpreters and translated voting materials
- Names missing in voter lists or other errors in voter names
- Not being given a provisional ballot
- Poll workers making hostile remarks to voters or providing incorrect information
- Requirements to prove U.S. citizenship
- Voting machine breakdowns and poor ballot design 
 
AALDEF will be recruiting volunteers to monitor polling places in 15 states for the 2016 elections. Stay tuned for more information about our 2016 schedule of events.

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For more information, contact:
Jerry Vattamala, Democracy Program Director
212.966.5932 x209
jvattamala@aaldef.org