As the 2008 Presidential campaign gets underway in earnest it’s hardly surprising reports surface about past real or imagined election fiascos in America.
Such is the case highlighted by this BBC story.
According to the Asian American Legal Defence and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 34-year-old civil rights organization there were many Asian American voters that faced discrimination from voting officials during 2006 mid-term elections.
How so you ask? Well the AALDEF claims the following:
The group alleges that poll workers were hostile towards Asian American voters, particularly those not fluent in English, during voting in 2006.
Many voters complained of “rude or hostile behaviour” and an “unhelpful attitude about election procedures”, the report said.
Wow! That’s pretty bad. If true.
My first question was how pervasive was this behavior? It seems the AALDEF came to this shocking conclusion based on reports from 59 Asian American voters As the BBC points out there are , according to the 2000 census, “more than 10 million Asian Americans, comprising 3.6% of” America’spopulation.
Now I’m no math genius, and my abacus is in the shop for repairs, but it seems to me that is a mighty small percentage of complaints compared to the total population. That small of a data set could easily be attributed to over worked and unpaid poll workers having “a bad day” not anything related to race.
The report goes on to claim 83% of New York voters were asked to show identification, a state where it isn’t legally required to do so.
Why were these people singled out? Again, although not required, poll workers asked because some voters couldn’t speak enough English to be understood or those working didn’t feel confident the voter understood instructions given.
This appears to be a problem with voter ID, not a case of blanket discrimination. With the illegal immigrant problem (to say nothing of the terrorist threat) such as it is in the U.S. this study points out the importance of quick, easy to use and verified voter identification.
The so called civil rights group AALDEF should spend more time teaching the groups they represent the importance of speaking English rather than making complaints of racial bias based on what amounts to thin air.
Copies of the report and letters of complaint have been sent to the US Department of Justice for investigation, the AALDEF says.
I say lotsa luck with that. With so few complaints given the total population it will be given a cursory examination, a form letter sent, and then properly ignored.