By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Asian Pacific Islander American Vote have opened a national election hotline that will be available through election day, November 8.
The hotline is available to answer your questions about voting, how to find a polling place, or to learn about any ID requirements.
“As we head into to the first presidential election since 1965 without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, the 888-API-VOTE hotline is even more critical to protect and serve our electorate,” said Christine Chen, Executive Director of APIAVote. “This election hotline not only provides AAPI voters essential in-language assistance, but it also ensures that all voters, regardless of proficiency in English, will have equitable access to the ballot box.”
Assistance is available in eight languages-English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, and Tagalog.
“Every eligible voter in the United States should be able to cast a ballot and participate in our democracy,” said Mee Moua, executive director and president of Advancing Justice | AAJC. “Ensuring that all voters know their rights at the polls is critical to their participation this November. As Asian Americans continue to grow in population, and turn out to vote, we must do everything we can to support their participation and make visible their political impact.”
Those with questions can call 1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683).
Voters can also find in-language resources online in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese and other resources from APIAVote.
The goal is to ensure equal access to the polls.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) plans to send out 800 attorneys, law students, and community volunteers to monitor the polls and to watch for any violations of the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act.
They will be stationed at 100 polling places in areas of large number of Asian American voters. These are some of the same polling places where Asian American voters have experienced problems in the past with language assistance and other potential obstacles to voting.
“In the 2012 elections, Asian Americans had to overcome numerous obstacles to exercise their right to vote,” said Jerry Vattamala, AALDEF Democracy Program Director. “AALDEF volunteers identified mistranslated ballots, interpreter shortages that led to Asian American voters being turned away, and poll workers who made hostile and racist remarks about Asian American voters. AALDEF will guard against the disenfranchisement of new citizens and limited English proficient voters.”
The Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund also plans to conduct a multilingual exit poll of 10,000 voters in 14 states: New York, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the organization behind the multilingual exit poll. We apologize for the error)
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