In some Asian American communities, over 50 percent of voters use some form of language assistance to vote. Fortunately, starting in 2014 in California, three developments were introduced to help those not fluent in English with the voting process: (1) the ability to register to vote online in Asian languages, (2) additional language assistance at the polls, and (3) the ability of lawful permanent residents to be poll workers. Advancing Justice-LA released a toolkit that can be used by groups interested in getting the word out and ensuring that counties are taking advantage of and complying with the new laws. Advancing Justice-LA is also seeking full and fair implementation of these developments through advocacy and community outreach.
Bilingual voting assistance: Through education, advocacy, and litigation, Advancing Justice-LA ensures that counties and cities provide written and oral assistance in certain Asian languages, as required by laws such as Section 203 of the federal Voting Rights Act. For example, during major elections, Advancing Justice-LA works with individual volunteers and community-based organizations to monitor poll sites for Section 203 compliance.
Other voting rights: Advancing Justice-LA also advocates on other issues affecting voting rights and access to the polls, such as voter registration, voting machines, identification requirements, and election structures that dilute the impact of underserved communities’ votes.
Redistricting: Every 10 years, following the decennial census, electoral districts from the city to the congressional level are redrawn. Through the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans for Fair Redistricting (CAPAFR), Advancing Justice-LA has played a leading role in ensuring that the voting power of Asian American and NHPI communities is respected during the redistricting process, as well as helping Asian Americans and NHPIs to build coalitions with other stakeholders including other communities of color. For example, in 2011, Advancing Justice-LA and CAPAFR educated and organized Asian Americans and NHPIs around the state to advocate that new state legislative districts be drawn more fairly, resulting in significant positive changes for Asian Americans and NHPI voters in several areas of the state.
Know Your Voting Rights California 2016'
To educate voters before Election Day, Advancing Justice-LA worked with Advancing Justice-ALC to create “Know Your Voting Rights” flyers in thirteen languages. The flyers explain important voter information regarding voter registration, what to expect on election day, and how to report election-related problems. The flyers also include a list of California counties that must provide translated materials in various Asian languages. Advancing Justice-LA encourages community groups and individuals to share widely before elections.