AALDEF to Proceed with 14-State Election Monitoring and Exit Polling of 10K Asian American Voters After Hurricane Sandy

New York, NY, November 5, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio): 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.

POLL MONITORING

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.”

MULTILINGUAL EXIT POLL

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 VOTER HOTLINE:  800-966-5946

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.