Disenfranchised minorities face voting difficulties due to a language barrier. With the upcoming elections on November 2, minorities will no doubt play a large role in determining which party occupies what seats in Congress. Nonetheless, for non-native English speakers, understanding the complicated processes at the polls may prove especially challenging with their lack of understanding of their voting rights. Although federal laws exist that require voting precincts to provide basic assistance to non-native speakers such as the National Voting Rights Act, the legislation is either loosely enforced or necessary services are inadequately provided. For instance, voters who go to a precinct to vote may not have access to ballots that are in their native language or may simply be illiterate.  Although translators and poll agents exist, voters who needed their help thought of them as generally unhelpful. In addition, bureaucratic problems have caused some electorate members to have issues such as not being on the checklist of eligible voters. Unfortunately little has been accomplished recently by the federal or state governments in alleviating the conditions. Nonetheless, numerous organizations such as the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund have been active in helping Asian Americans with the challenging voter environment by teaching poll agents about correct procedures, educating voters about the candidates and their rights, and filing legal actions for Asian American voters.

By Jiemin Zhou





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