AALDEF Report: "Asian American Access to Democracy in the 2006 Elections"

Recently the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released a study of Asian Americans and their ability to participate in the 2006 elections, “Asian American Access to Democracy in the 2006 Elections.” The report is based on an exit poll of over 4,700 Asian American voters in 82 polling places throughout the nation, as well as monitoring efforts in 123 polling places.

Of the many points made in the report, I found results from the survey quite interesting as they shed some light on two problems of contemporary research interest.

First, on Page 7 of the report there is a table, “AALDEF Voter Survey, November 7, 2006”, which lists six different types of problems that voters in their exit survey encountered on election day, and their relative frequency. Of the 4,726 Asian American voters in the survey:

  1. 148 stated “Voted by provisional ballot”
  2. 133 stated “Name not on list of registered voters”
  3. 100 stated “No interpreters – Translated materials”
  4. 59 stated “Pollworkers poorly trained”
  5. 51 stated “Directed to wrong poll site – precinct voting booth”
  6. 30 stated “Pollworkers were rude – hostile”

These numbers help to quantify the respective problems facing Asian American voters.

Second, the report contains an entire section on “Improper Identification Checks” (Section D, starting on page 17). The report states: “In our survey, 954 voters were required to present identification. The vast majority of them, 78%, were not required to do so under HAVA” (page 17). Also on page 17 is a table (“Voter Complaints About Identification Checks”) listing the frequency of these identification checks in states where identification was not “generally required to vote”.

This latter analysis parallels the one on Hispanic voters that Atkeson et al. conducted recently in New Mexico, “New Barriers to Participation: Application of New Mexico’s Voter Identification Law.”

Of course, it would be wonderful to get more of the details about the AALDEF survey, and in particular, the data that the analysis is based on …