Tag: Voting irregularities

AsianBrooklynImmigration NewsQueens

Asian American Watchdog Group Cites Voting Day Irregularities

NEW YORK – Yan Tai, World Journal reporter

As Election Day drew to an end, an Asian American watchdog group said there were more problems among Asian American voters than people thought.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a civil rights organization based in New York, said Tuesday that for many Asian American voters things did not go that smoothly. The group sent 1,400 attorneys, law students and community volunteers to cover 130 polling sites in eleven states with large Asian American populations which have seen election day glitches for Asian American voters in the past.

Problems cited by the group included long lines, delays, and poll-worker confusion over ID requirements, as well as anecdotes of voting rights violations. These problems were also experienced by other voters, but the group argues that the problems hit Asian American voters harder because of language barriers.

The group received hundreds of complaints via its Election Day hot line, said Margaret Fung, AALDEF’s executive director.

The problems reported included:

— Voters who could not find their names on the voter rolls. For instance, at P.S. 250 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, several voters claimed they had voted in previous elections but their names were not on the voter rolls.

— Improper requests for voter ID. At P.S. 94 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, one voter was told to go home to get an ID in order to vote. No interpreters were available to explain why this was needed.

— Racial remarks used against immigrant voters. At P.S. 94 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, two Arab American voters asked a few questions, and after they walked out, AALDEF volunteers heard a poll worker say, “They look like terrorists to me.”

— Violation of voters’ civil rights. In Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a Chinese American grandmother needed assistance voting and asked her granddaughter to help her cast her ballot. A poll worker prevented her from bringing her family member into the voting booth, in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.

— Inadequate assistance in Asian languages.

— Broken voting machines.

— Delays and long lines and scarcity of poll workers. In New Orleans, some Vietnamese American voters had to wait two hours to vote at Sarah T. Reed High School in Orleans Parish, while at Mary Queens of Viet Nam Church, voters had to wait almost three hours to vote.

Immigration News

More Reports of New York Election Law Violations Against Immigrants

NEW YORK – Aswini Anburajan, FI2W reporter

Throughout New York City there have been reports that voters have been asked to show identification, in violation of New York election law.

Laura Matthews, a second year law student at the City University of New York, said that voters in Jackson Heights were asked to show ID and were told it was because of the difficulty of understanding their names.

Matthews said the other main problem in immigrant neighborhoods was the lack of interpreters, and that voters for whom English is a second language felt pressured at the polls to try and get through the materials quickly.

Unlike in Harlem, however, poll watchers are thronging the election sites checking to see that voters’ rights weren’t violated.

Students like Laura are volunteering through the Asian American Legal Defense Fund.

AsianImmigration NewsQueens

Voting Barriers Encountered at a Diverse Poll Site in Queens, NY

ASTORIA, NY – By Suman Ragunathan, FI2W Consultant

In Astoria, Queens, an ethnically diverse immigrant neighborhood just minutes away from Midtown Manhattan, Saeeda Nadeem was on her way to vote for the first time after 15 years in the U.S.Saeeda, a housewife originally from Pakistan, became a citizen two years ago in 2006, and was excited to vote this year.She pointed to the differences between the candidates — a difference she described as “black and white.”

Saeeda’s husband, Mohammad, a hotel concierge –also originally from Pakistan– has been in the U.S. for 21 years and has been voting for twelve years. He said he was casting his vote because he wanted change:”The economy is going down — it’s very hard to live here, and we want hope.”He noted that he and Saeeda, who have three children born in the U.S., had been paying attention to election issues and the debates.Mohammad said he was voting for Barack Obama “because he said he would work on immigration policy.”

Saeeda and Mohammad went to P.S. 234 in Astoria, where they were told that they were at the wrong polling site. They were sent to another polling site across the street, P.S. 17.They later returned to P.S. 234, their first stop, where –though they both live at the same address– Mohammad voted. He then accompanied his wife back to P.S. 17 to vote.

Exit pollsters surveying Asian American voters at P.S. 234 reported helpful poll workers, a variety of interpreters available to assist voters in languages other than English, and very few voters being asked for identification in order to be able to vote.

Across the street, P.S. 17 was a different scene.Lines at times extended beyond the door of the Henry David Thoreau School as residents filed in to vote. Unfortunately, widespread voting barriers accompanied the long lines.

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