PO Box 101268
Arlington, VA 22210
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans.
In past elections, Asian and Arab Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote. In addition, candidates and the news media have often overlooked the Asian American vote. In response, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has monitored the elections for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act, which mandates bilingual ballots and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination, and conducted a non-partisan multilingual survey of voters to document Asian and Arab American voting patterns.
In 2004, 1,200 volunteers polled almost 11,000 Asian and Arab American voters in eight states. In the 2012 elections, AALDEF will monitor the provision of language assistance in new jurisdictions covered by section 203 of the federal Voting Rights Act and will conduct a multilingual exit poll of Asian American voters in several states.
Asian Language Assistance under Voting Rights Act Section 203
In October 2011, the Census Bureau announced that under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, bilingual ballots and language assistance must be provided to Asian American voters in 11 states, covering 22 cities and counties, and in six Asian languages. Now for the first time, South Asian languages will be covered in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City (Queens), and Hamtramck, Michigan. Chinese and Filipino ballots will be provided in four more districts each, Vietnamese in three more districts, and Korean in one more district. AALDEF will be monitoring these new poll sites for compliance and documenting any language barriers that voters still face.
APIAS and Existing Barriers to Voting
Asian & Pacific Islander Americans already face huge barriers to exercising their right to vote, as documented by AALDEF following the 2006 midterm elections:
Although local election officials sought to comply with federal laws and provide assistance to voters, in 2006, we found the following obstacles: