AALDEF Announces Asian American Election Protection Plans for Presidential Primary

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a national 34-year old civil rights organization, announced details of its Asian American Election Protection Project for the 2008 Presidential Primary Elections. Attorneys, law students, and community volunteers will cover one hundred poll sites in four states where Asian language voter assistance is provided and where Asian Americans reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections.

AALDEF will monitor elections in New York and New Jersey on Super Tuesday, February 5, and in Virginia and Maryland on February 12 for language assistance (ballots, interpreters, signs and voting materials) and non-discriminatory implementation of voter identification requirements.

Volunteers speaking Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese will be at poll sites to take complaints from voters about election irregularities and other obstacles. Voters can also report Election Day problems to AALDEF’s toll-free Election Day Hotline at 800.966.5946, or by e-mail to votingcomplaints@aaldef.org.

Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said “We want to ensure that all eligible Asian American voters can participate in the electoral process and have their votes counted.”

One-hour training sessions for volunteers will take place at the following locations:

** NEW YORK and NEW JERSEY – Monday, Jan. 28
12 Noon – Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, 767 Fifth Avenue, at 59th St., Midtown Manhattan

** NEW YORK and NEW JERSEY – Tuesday, Jan. 29
12 Noon – Shearman & Sterling, 599 Lexington Avenue at 53rd St., Midtown Manhattan
6:30 PM – White & Case, 1155 Avenue of the Americas, bet. 44th / 45th Sts., Midtown Manhattan

** NEW JERSEY – Saturday, Feb. 2
3:00 PM – KAVC, 1562 Lemoine Ave, Fort Lee, NJ

** WASHINGTON, DC / VIRGINIA – Monday, Feb. 11
12 Noon – Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, 1152 15th Street, bet. L and M Sts., N.W., Washington, DC
6:00 PM – APALRC, 1600 K Street, N.W., Washington, DC

Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney, said, “In the 2006 midterm elections, Asian Americans had to overcome numerous obstacles to exercise their right to vote. AALDEF will guard against the disenfranchisement of new citizens and limited English proficient voters.”

AALDEF has monitored elections and conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988, noting the steadily growing involvement of first-time voters. AALDEF’s report, Asian American Access to Democracy in the 2006 Elections, which documents violations of the Voting Rights Act and Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and other incidents of anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement in 25 cities in 9 states is available online at www.aaldef.org.

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.

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