For Immediate Release
Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
Kimberly Leung, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
CHICAGO, IL — November 7, 2022 – The Illinois Midterm Election is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 8. 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 in Chicago and Cook County. The goal of our nonpartisan program is to ensure that all eligible voters have fair and equitable access to the polls, with particular attention to historically disenfranchised communities like Asian Americans and immigrants.
Though Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the country and in the state of Illinois, Asian Americans face a number of barriers when it comes to voting, including a lack of language access. Asian Americans are made up of linguistically diverse communities. Seventy-seven percent of Asian Americans in Illinois speak a language other than English at home, and of those, approximately 38% speak English less than “very well.”
Our poll watching program focuses on monitoring precincts where there are high number of voters with limited English proficiency. In Chicago and suburban Cook County, there are certain precincts that are required to have translated ballots, signages and bilingual poll workers. Our staff and volunteers poll watchers visit these voting locations to ensure that they are in compliance with federal and local laws governing language access.
Due to changes resulting from Chicago’s precinct consolidation, there are additional concerns this election as to whether voters with limited English proficiency (LEP) will have access to the information and assistance they need. In addition to our poll watching program, we will have volunteer interpreters at certain precincts available to help voters who want assistance. Under the federal Voting Rights Act, LEP voters have the right to bring an interpreter of their choice to assist them with voting, with the limited exception that the person they bring cannot be their employer or union representative.
This Midterm Election, our staff and volunteers will, cover 96 precincts and three voter centers in Chicago, and 102 precincts in Suburban Cook County.
In suburban Cook County, the Voting Opportunity and Translation Equity (VOTE) Ordinance, which was passed in October 2019, requires certain precincts to have translated materials in Korean, Tagalog, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Gujarati and Urdu. In addition to monitoring the Asian language precincts, Advancing Justice | Chicago will also be poll watching at the Arabic language precincts in partnership with Arab American Family Services.
When: Tuesday, November 8, 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 96 precincts and three voter centers in Chicago, and 102 precincts 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.