AALDEF Seeks Volunteers to Monitor Elections


AALDEF is looking for volunteers in California to monitor the November 8 elections to help ensure compliance with the federal Voting rights Act and to document instances of anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement.

In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote.  For example, poll workers were hostile and made racist remarks, poll sites had too few interpreters to assist Asian American voters, translated voting materials were missing or hidden from voters, and ballots were mistranslated listing Democratic candidates as Republicans, and vice versa. When the news media reported on election results and the vote by specific groups, Asian Americans were often overlooked.

On November 8, 2016, AALDEF, along with other Asian American groups and bar associations, will be monitoring the elections and conducting non-partisan voter surveys at poll sites in Asian American neighborhoods.

Advance registration required. Sign up at http://www.aaldef.net.

Polling sites in California include San Diego and San Jose.

Training Sessions:

Wednesday, October 5, 12:00 PM
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, 12730 High Bluff Dr, Ste 400, San Diego*

Wednesday, October 5, 6:00 PM
National Federation of Filipino American Associations, Mabuhay Room, 1603 Hoover Ave, National City*

Thursday, October 6, 3:30 PM
Asian Law Alliance, De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, 3:30 PM

*Light lunch/dinner will be provided

Attendance at one training session is required for all volunteers.All volunteers must be non-partisan and work a 3-hour shift. (CLE trainings are 90 minutes. Attorneys can receive 1.5 CLE credits including 0.5 ethics credit.)

For more information, contact AALDEF Staff Attorney Jerry Vattamala or Voting Rights Organizer Iris Zalun at 800-966-5946 or votingrights@aaldef.org.

Historic Quad-Partisan Presidential Election Forum Highlights Rising Influence of AAPI Vote

Bill Clinton, Sean Reyes, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein Aim to Win Votes From Fastest Growing Racial Group

LAS VEGAS – On Friday, Hillary Clinton surrogate and former President Bill Clinton, Donald Trump surrogate and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, and Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein addressed more than 2,500 journalists and community leaders in the largest gathering of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the history of presidential campaign cycles.  

Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), with 40 partner organizations, hosted this historic Presidential Election Forum in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, an election battleground state where nearly one in ten residents is AAPI.

“From Southeast Asia to the Indian subcontinent to Native Hawaiians, the AAPI community represents a heritage and history that spans the globe,” said APIAVote founding board member Daphne Kwok. “A recognition that this community is the lifeblood of our nation was cemented this week, as top campaign officials not only defined what AAPI meant to them personally, but also advanced discussions around how policies proposals from immigration and education to national security and trade are being focused on to empower the collective prospects of AAPIs across the country.”

During the forum, Rock the Vote announced its “Power Up” campaign, in partnership with APIAVote and youth organizations, focused on getting young AAPIs to vote. Congressman Mike Honda stated that 7,000 17-year-olds turn 18 every day. He also emphasized the power of AAPI voters to determine winners, particularly in six swing states and 85 congressional districts that are 10 percent AAPI.

AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group in the country, expected to grow from 20 million to more than 50 million by 2060. The rising influence of the AAPI community is evident in the past two election cycles, where the AAPI vote has been an important factor in election outcomes in key battleground states. In many of these states, the AAPI voter population either equaled or exceeded the margin of victory in previous presidential elections.

Congresswoman Judy Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), pointed out that in 2010, Nevada Senator Harry Reid won re-election in a tight race with the support of nearly four in five AAPI voters who made up four percent of the electorate.

Data from APIAVote’s 2016 State Factsheets show that nearly half of all registered Asian American voters identify education (48%), healthcare (47%), national security (47%), and jobs (45%) as extremely important to how they cast their ballot — issues that the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green Party representatives addressed in the forum. This same block of eligible AAPI voters also represents vital margins in swing states across the country, holding the key to determining the winner of the Presidential election.

  • Arizona: 146,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 3% of the electorate
  • Florida: 372,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 2.5% of the electorate
  • Michigan: 145,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 1.8% of the electorate
  • Minnesota: 136,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 3.1% of the electorate
  • Nevada: 177,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 9% of the electorate
  • North Carolina: 136,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 1.8% of the electorate
  • Ohio: 127,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 1.3% of the electorate
  • Pennsylvania: 223,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 2.1% of the electorate
  • Virginia: 310,000 eligible AAPI voters comprise 5% of the electorate

The historic forum plays a vital role in educating this segment of the electorate, ultimately empowering them to vote on Election Day and elevating their representative profile among national campaigns, voter mobilization programs, and global media outlets.

To access high-resolution photos from the event, visit here.

To access APIAVote’s 2016 State Factsheets, visit here.

A Word document press release can downloaded here.

Historic AAPI Presidential Forum in Las Vegas Aug. 12

Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein will join former President Bill Clinton on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Secretary Hillary Clinton, and Libertarian presidential nominee Governor Gary Johnson to address the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) national community on August 12, 2016, at a historic AAPI Presidential Election Forum in Las Vegas.

Get the latest news about this event on APIAVote.org and AAJA.org.

In addition, discussions are in final stages with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign.

This quad-partisan AAPI Presidential Election Forum is presented by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote).

Upwards of 4,000 leaders from business, real estate, journalism, health care, law, faith, and more, are expected to be inside The Colosseum at Caesars Palace for the Presidential Election Forum. More than 40 organizations are holding conferences, seminars, and symposiums to discuss issues relevant to their industries, professions, and communities.

In addition, more than 50 AAPI community Watch Parties will be held across the country, joining this historic event in real-time.

At the Forum, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) led by Rep. Judy Chu, Rep Mike Honda, and other members of Congress will have a special message on how AAPI voters actually can swing this year’s election outcome as they have in the past two cycles.

Doors open at 1:00 p.m. PST. Press credentials will NOT provide access to candidates, candidate arrivals, or allow for any filming or photography at the event or on Caesars property.


Media Contacts

AAJA: Kathy Chow
EMAIL: kathyc@aaja.org
PHONE: 916-539-0440

APIAVote: Alton Wang
EMAIL: awang@apiavote.org
PHONE: 202-780-8801

Asian American Civil Rights Group Reports Voting Violations on Election Day

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) today announced that poll monitoring reports from New York, New Jersey, and Virginia today include reports of a mistranslated ballot proposition, Hindi and Korean interpreter shortages, improper voter identification requirements, and one report of a racist poll worker.

“Continuing language translation violations and improper identification demands of Asian American voters are unacceptable,” said Glenn D. Magpantay, director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Democracy Program. “Reports of voting violations in these three states with large Asian American populations should not be met with finger-pointing, but with corrective action.”

On Election Day November 5, AALDEF and several cosponsoring organizations (listed below) sent over 300 attorneys, law students, and community volunteers to three states to document voter problems. The elections today included the mayoral election in New York City and the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia. AALDEF also conducted a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll in six languages to get a snapshot of Asian American voting preferences in these key states in anticipation of next year’s mid-term elections.

All observations were reported to the Board of Elections. A summary of voting rights violations follows:

New York:

Mistranslated Ballot Propositions
The Chinese translation of ballot proposition 5 at PS 126 in Chinatown, Manhattan, P.S. 150 in Woodside, Queens, and P.S. 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn were mistranslated. Sample ballots at Election District 22/26 in Queens were also mistranslated.

Interpreter Shortages
Poll sites had shortages of Korean and Hindi speaking interpreters, including J.H.S. 217, I.S. 125, and St. Sebastian’s School in Queens. Additionally, at P.S. 171 in Astoria, Queens, although the site was not targeted for Korean interpreters, reports indicated that many Korean-speaking voters were in need of language assistance.

Poll Worker Confusion
At Rosenthal Senior Center in Flushing, Queens, poll workers told voters that the back side of the ballot was “not that important,” leading voters to not vote on those propositions.

Improper Voter ID Requirements
At Thomas Edison High School in Jamaica, Queens and PS 126 in Chinatown, voters were required to show identification by the information clerk even though they were not first time voters.

New Jersey:

Interpreter Shortages
At Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, Ward 4, District 2 in Englewood, NJ, there were no Korean interpreters or bilingual poll workers, despite large number of Korean American voters.

Racist Poll Workers
At JP Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey, an Indian American voter was prevented from voting because his last name was so long that it was displayed with a space (separating it into two words) in the voter roll. The white poll worker insisted that he was not the same person, and only after appealing to another Indian American poll worker was the voter allowed to vote.


Interpreter Violations
At Mosby Woods Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia, two elderly Korean American voters were prevented from using their own interpreters inside the polling place. (Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act requires that voters can be assisted by an interpreter of choice, and these assistors may accompany the voters into the booth to translate the ballots for them.)

Improper Voter ID Requirements
At Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, Virginia, an additional form of voter identification — requiring proof of address, was wrongfully required.

National Co-Sponsors:

  • Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
  • National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
  • OCA: Asian Pacific American Advocates
  • South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
  • State/Local Co-Sponsors:
  • Alliance for South Asian American Labor (ASAAL)
  • Asian American Society of Central Virginia (AASOCVA)
  • Asian Pacific America Legal Resource Center (APALRC)
  • Chhaya CDC
  • Coalition of Asian Pacific American of Virginia (CAPAVA)
  • Minkwon Center
  • National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) – DC and NY Chapters

Legal Co-Sponsors

  • Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY)
  • Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Greater DC (APABA-DC)
  • Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ)
  • Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY)
  • Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY)
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
  • South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY)
  • South Asian Bar Association of Greater DC

Ujala Sehgal
212.966.5932 x.217

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.