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Asian Communities Across New York City Are At Risk Of Being Unable to Register to Vote





In 2002, Help America Vote Act Changed Content in Voter Registration Forms Making Previously Translated Forms Useless

Asian Communities Across New York City Are At Risk Of Being Unable to Register to Vote 

Schumer: Asian Communities in New York City and Across The Country Must be Provided the Same Access to Democracy As Everyone Else




Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, urged the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to move quickly and finalize and release the translation of the Federal Mail-In Voter Registration Form into the Asian languages required by the Voting Rights Act.  With only months until the start of the 2010 federal primaries, Asian-language jurisdictions covered by the law must be afforded the same access to registering to vote as Spanish-speaking voters already have. Schumer wants to ensure that the federal form is available to all eligible voters in a readily understandable format.


“The Asian community is an integral part of New York City and must be afforded the same access to democracy as everyone else,” Schumer said. “The fact that the EAC has yet to translate these important voter registration forms into various Asian languages is not only unfair to those unable to read English, but it is a slap in the face to our voting process. I truly hope the EAC hears my calls so the Asian community in New York and across the nation is justly represented.”


This would not be a new translation.  The Federal Election Commission routinely translated the federal voter registration form into the required Spanish and Asian languages in the mid-1990’s.  However, the Help America Vote Act in 2002 changed some content in the national voter registration form, making prior translations of the form obsolete.  The EAC released its Spanish-language translation of the form in January of 2006, and the Asian-language translations are long overdue.


Last year, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration staff received a complaint from Asian-American advocacy organizations because the Asian-language form would not be ready for the 2008 election.  The EAC’s response, almost a year ago, indicated that the agency would work to research and translate the form.  It is important for the EAC to work with the representatives of the affected communities, and there has been ample opportunity and time to do so since the creation of the EAC almost six years ago. 


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STORY TAGS: asian, voting, voters, election, vote, electorate, registration, new york city, ny, new york, charles schumer, language, gap, barrier, register

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