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New Jersey Translates Voter Registration Forms in Korean, Gujarati, and Chinese

by kace

  • Posted on July 14, 2008

  • News

Admin   2008-01-14 17:43:34, Hit : 65, Vote : 12

Fort Lee, NJ � Today, before the last day to register to vote, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and Korean American Voters� Council (KAVC) of NY/NJ announced a new translated voter registration form in Asian languages.  January 15 is the last day to register to vote in New Jersey for the Presidential Primary Elections, which are on February 5.  

Glenn Magpantay, AALDEF Staff Attorney said, �We have advocated for translated voter registration forms since 2003 to accommodate the growing Asian American population.�  In 2004, the former Attorney General had promised the forms, but it was not until very recently that the forms were translated, printed, addressed, and postage-paid as all other state voter registration forms.  He continued, �The new forms are a great victory!�  

Donna Kelly, from the Office of Law and Public Safety of the State Attorney General who oversaw the development of the forms, talked about how Asian American voters can register to vote in their native language.

Korean American Voters’ Council of NY/NJ President, Dong Suk Kim, said, “KAVC has worked to minimize language barriers so that more Korean Americans can exercise their right to vote. The Korean translated voter registration form is a great step foreword in our efforts. We hope New
Jersey law-makers will adopt more measures to expand access to the vote for all Asian Americans.”

The Asian American population in New Jersey has doubled since 1990, numbering over half a million.  According to the census, there are 37,000 Koreans in Bergen County and 23,000 Chinese and 57,000 Indians in Middlesex County.  AALDEF and KAVC have monitored poll sites on Election Day and many Asian Americans with limited English proficiency reported difficulty in exercising their right to vote.

The groups conducted a non-partisan multilingual exit poll of 1,385 New Jersey Asian American voters during the 2004 elections.  In Bergen County, 62% of Korean American voters surveyed were limited English proficient.  In Middlesex County, 13% of Indian American and 25% Chinese American voters surveyed were limited English proficient.  The new translated forms will help many newly naturalized citizens participate in the political process.