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Primary Election Phone Bank Initative 2009

On September 15, 2009, the Korean American Voters’ Council (KAVC) conducted a Phone Bank Hotline service where voters could contact trained professionals at the office with questions regarding voting rights, poll site locations, non-partisan candidate information, or report abuses or issues at the poll sites. The hotline service was held from 6 PM and ended at 9 PM when the polls closed.

Throughout the day, KAVC volunteers received over a hundred calls, with more than 50 percent of them questions regarding poll site locations.

From the data gathered from this phone banking initiative, we can see that the Korean American community was not sufficiently educated or informed about the Primary Election, and the rules and regulations regarding voting within your party for the Primary Election. Approximately 10 percent of those who called had questions regarding this issue.

Another issue which was brought to our attention was the mistranslation of Korean names into English, which also meant issues with Korean first names which were split into first and middle names, incorrect usage of hyphenation in Korean names, or even worse, duplicate registrations due to name discrepancies. Approximately 5 percent of callers faced issues pertaining to this topic.

Most other calls were regarding issues dealing with overt or covert discrimination methods used by poll site regulators, such as forcing to show photo ID despite being a returning voter, the pushing away of voters because of language barrier issues, the failure to provide alternative voting methods (such as affidavit ballot) in instances which a confirmed registered voter’s name did not appear on the list, and other violations of voting rights. These complaints were all noted in detail and will be brought to the Board of Election’s attention right away to be addressed and fixed, hopefully, before the next election cycle.


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