For Immediate Release
Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
Kimberly Leung, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
CHICAGO, IL — June 27, 2022 – The Illinois Primary Election is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 28. The ballot includes races for governor, congressional seats, state legislative offices, and a variety of local positions. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago continues its long-running poll watching program. Our poll watchers will be stationed at various polling places across Cook County to monitor for compliance with language access and other requirements. The goal of our poll monitoring program is to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots without interference, with a particular focus on historically-disenfranchised communities like Asian Americans and immigrants.
Asian Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the city and state. Seventy-seven percent of Asian Americans in Illinois speak a language other than English at home, and of those, more than 38% speak English less than “very well.” Lack of language access is a serious barrier to voting for Asian American communities. On the importance of language access in this month’s elections: “If we’re talking about access to power, the most fundamental right here is the right to vote,” said Kimberly Leung, the voting rights legal fellow at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago.
Recognizing that citizens with limited English proficiency have been effectively excluded from participating in the electoral process, Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act (“Section 203”) requires certain jurisdictions—including Cook County–to provide translated election materials and in-language assistance.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago’s poll watching program focuses on precincts in Chicago and Suburban Cook County that are covered by Section 203, and therefore are required to have election materials in Chinese, Hindi, or Spanish. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners have also identified certain precincts where there will be election materials in Korean and Tagalog. Our poll watching program also focuses on those precincts.
Our poll watching program is also monitoring for compliance with the Cook County Voting Opportunity and Translation Equity (VOTE) Ordinance. The VOTE Ordinance, which was passed in October 2019, extends Section 203 protections in suburban Cook County to eight additional languages: Korean, Tagalog, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Gujarati and Urdu.
This Primary, our staff and volunteers will, in total, cover 114 Chicago precincts and 58 precincts in Suburban Cook County.
When: Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Where: Chicago and Suburban Cook County
What: Advancing Justice | Chicago staff and volunteer poll watchers will be stationed at polling places across Chicago and Suburban Cook County to monitor for compliance with language access and other requirements. In total, our staff and volunteers will cover 114 polling places in Chicago and 58 polling places in Suburban Cook County. During visits, poll watchers will check for language and disability access and ensure voter harassment and disenfranchisement do not occur.
If you have any questions about voting, you can call the Election Protection Hotline. Call 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) for assistance in Bengali, Cantonese, English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese. Call 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) for assistance in Spanish. For assistance in English, call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org.