For Immediate Release:
January 24, 2008
Dae Joong Yoon, KRC, 323-937-3718
Eun Sook Lee, NAKASEC, 323-937-3703
NEW CITY ORDINANCE ON ABSENTEE BALLOTS WILL LOWER MINORITY AND SENIOR VOTER PARTICIPATION
(Los Angeles, California) The City Council of Glendale will be voting Tuesday, January 29, 2008 to change current policy enabling third parties such as non-profit organizations from providing voter assistance to absentee voters.
More than 75% of Glendale's population is minority and Limited English Proficient voters - 40% are Armenian American, 19.7% are Latino and 16.1% are Asian Pacific Americans – while 14% are senior citizens. These minority communities (which constitute a largely new voting population) and senior voters principally depend on local community organizations to exercise their voting rights as U.S. citizens. In prohibiting community groups to provide needed assistance (much of it linguistically appropriate) so that minority, Limited English Proficient voters, and senior voters will correctly complete and send their absentee ballots on time to the City Clerk's Office, significant voting subpopulations will be disenfranchised.
"Immigrant voters look towards community organizations for assistance, usually because of language barriers. Here at the Korean Resource Center, in one week we had over 200 clients come and seek assistance in voter registration and absentee ballot applications. There is a great need for this type of service and community organizations are the only source of support for minority voters. This is a very disappointing proposal because it will hurt community civic participation," stated Dae Joong Yoon, Executive Director of the Korean Resource Center.
EunSook Lee, Executive Director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) added: "Proponents for this proposed ordinance claim that it will help minimize the chance of campaign offices mishandling absentee ballot applications. Given that there have been no such documented cases we are seriously concerned that the proposed ordinance is just one more ruse to silence minority voters by building additional barriers to their participation."
NAKASEC and the Korean Resource Center encourage community members to attend the Tuesday, January 29, 2008 meeting to oppose the passage of this proposed ordinance. The meeting will be held at 6:00 PM on the 2nd floor of the City Council Chambers located at 613 E. Broadway Glendale, California 91206.