AALDEF Volunteer Trainings to Defend Asian American Voting Rights

Volunteer Trainings to Defend Asian American Voting Rights
Sign up by Oct. 23.

Trainings for AALDEF election monitoring are now on-line. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is seeking volunteer attorneys, law and undergraduate students, and community volunteers to assist in monitoring poll sites during the elections in NYC, NJ, and Virginia on November 5 to ensure compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act.  Attorneys and law students can receive pro bono hours or free CLE (including ethics) credits.

Volunteers will inspect poll sites for required language assistance, interview voters, and document instances of anti-Asian American voter discrimination.  Bilingual ability in an Asian language is helpful but not required.

Lunch/lite dinner will be provided.  All volunteers must be non-partisan during the time that they help.  Sign up by WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23, at  http://www.aaldef.net/volunteer_monitor_form.aspx


Tues, Oct. 22 at 12N – Shearman & Sterling, 599 Lexington Avenue, at 53rd Street, NYC

Tues, Oct. 22 at 6PM – NYU Law School, Furman Hall Room 324, 245 Sullivan Street, NYC
Wed, Oct. 23 at 1PM – Brooklyn Law School, 205 Joralemon St., Room 505, Brooklyn, NYC
Mon, Oct. 28 at 12N – Columbia Law, 435 West 116th Street, Room 107, Manhattan, NYC
Tues, Oct. 29 at 12N –  Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, 51 West 52nd Street at 6th Avenue, NYC
Tues, Oct. 29 at 12:45pm –  New York Law School, Room TBD, 185 West Broadway, NYC
Wed, Oct. 30 at 6PM – Weil Gotshal & Manges,767 5th Ave at 59th Street, NYC

Thurs, Oct. 24 at 12N – McCarter & English, 100 Mulberry St., 4 Gateway Center, Newark, NJ
Thurs, Oct. 24 time TBD – Rutgers Law School, Room TBD, Newark, NJ

Thurs, Oct. 24 at 6PM – Dickstein Shapiro, 1825 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC
Fri., Oct. 25 at 12N  – Dickstein Shapiro, 1825 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC

Glenn D. Magpantay or Jerry Vattamala at gmagpantay@aaldef.org,jvattamala@aaldef.org or call 212-966-5932.

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL)

Asian American Society of Central Virginia (AASOCVA)
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC)
Chhaya CDC
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia (CAPAVA)
MinKwon Center
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)–DC and NY Chapters

Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY)
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Greater DC (APABA-DC)
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA/NJ)
Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY)
Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY)
South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY)
South Asian Bar Association of Greater DC


Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association Expresses Disappointment with the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act Opinion

(NEW YORK, June 28, 2013)  This week the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling, rendered its opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. __ (Jun. 25, 2013)The Shelby decision involved Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.*  Section 4 of the Act established a “coverage formula” to determine which states and local governments properly fall under Section 5 of the Act, and thus were required to get approval before changing their voting laws.  The justices ruled that Section 4 of the Act is unconstitutional, and that the formula, which has been used for decades, can no longer be used to establish preclearance requirements.  Chief Justice John G. Roberts, who delivered the Court’s opinion stated: “Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”  In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated “the Court today terminates the remedy that proved to be best suited to block that discrimination.” Justice Ginsburg’s dissent articulates the continued need for Section 5 preclearance for those states with poor voting rights records, and noted that in July 2006, the House and Senate passed the reauthorization of preclearance by overwhelming margins (House 390 to 33; Senate 98 to 0).

The ruling has already had potentially adverse consequences.  Shortly after the decision, Texas announced that a voter identification law that had previously been blocked is now free to take effect immediately.  Also, redistricting maps will no longer need federal approval, and “changes in voting procedures in places that had been covered by the law, including those concerning restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to ‘after-the-fact’ litigation.” See “Supreme Court Invalidates Key Part of Voting Rights Act,” New York Times, June 25, 2013.

Attorney General Eric Holder expressed his disappointment in the decision and stated: “Let me be very clear: we will not hesitate to take swift enforcement action – using every legal tool that remains available to us – against any jurisdiction that seeks to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling by hindering eligible citizens’ full and free exercise of the [voting] franchise." 

Amistad echoes the disappointment of the nation’s leaders with the Supreme Court’s decision. 

Considering that Long Island is the home of the seminal voting rights decision Goosby v. Town of Hempstead, the organization would be remiss if we did not declare our opposition to rulings that potentially marginalize voters of color.  In Goosby, a federal judge ordered the Town of Hempstead to replace its at-large voting system with six geographic districts, stating that the system then in place “invidiously excludes Blacks from effective participation in political life.” The Goosby Second Circuit decision is available at this link: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1437220.html.

Amistad, an affiliate of the National Bar Association (the “NBA”) fully intends to stand alongside the NBA in its efforts to bear pressure on policy makers and on Congress to enact a viable Section 5 coverage mechanism that deals with continuing impediments to the fundamental right to vote. We stand in solidarity with organizations committed to ensuring that the right to vote is not impeded for anyone, particularly various members of communities in our backyard. 

Submitted on behalf of the

Amistad Institute of the Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association

*The Court’s complete opinion is available at this link: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/717250-supreme-courts-voting-rights-act-decision.html


The Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association was founded in 1996. Formerly, the organization was known as the Amistad Suffolk Black Bar Association before it expanded to both the Nassau and Suffolk regions. Amistad was created to foster community, professional development, and growth among attorneys of color in the Long Island area.

Amistad is an affiliate of the National Bar Association.


The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) urges the United States Congress to reinstate the enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Section 4, that were invalidated this past Tuesday, June 25, 2013 by the United States Supreme Court in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder.

Shelby eliminates the preclearance requirement for certain states or areas in which discrimination had historically been found to exist.  Preclearance required covered states and jurisdictions to submit all changes affecting voting and elections for preapproval by the U.S. Department of Justice.  The decision in Shelby will likely lead to legal sanctioning of efforts to undermine voting rights.

This ruling hits home. Certain New York counties including New York, Kings and the Bronx were areas for which preclearance had been required, based on a prior history of voter discrimination. The Shelby ruling clears the way for the reinstatement of discriminatory practices, such as efforts to restrict access to voting sites or attempts to gerrymander voting districts to dilute the voting power of Asian Americans in New York’s Chinatown or African Americans in Harlem. The profound impact of such practices on the voting rights and electoral aspirations of the affected minority voters in those areas cannot be overstated.

The record the Supreme Court considered contains ample evidence that voting rights discrimination is alive and well in 2013 as it was in 1964.  Justice Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion chronicles that evidence. 

The unfettered right to vote is a precondition of representative democracy.  Retrenchment on that right undermines many other rights such as the right to free speech.  Until Shelby, the necessity of a strong Voting Rights Act was universally recognized. 

Congress must act and exercise its power to provide the checks and balances that our Constitution established when the Founders formed our union to ensure a balanced government.  Voting rights are under attack and we urge Congress and the Administration to take prompt action to defend this most fundamental civil right.


AABANY was formed in 1989 as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Asian American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, paralegals and law students.  The mission of AABANY is to improve the study and practice of law, and the fair administration of justice for all by ensuring the meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession.

NAPABA Condemns Voting Rights Act Decision

June 25, 2013

Contact: Emily Chatterjee
(202) 775-9555

Urges Bipartisan Congressional Action to Protect Voters

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is dismayed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today to strike down Section IV of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. Section IV includes the coverage formula for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was reauthorized by Congress as recently as 2006. NAPABA joined an amicus brief in Shelby County earlier this year that argued in support of upholding the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.

“The Voting Rights Act has been a crucial tool in combatting voter discrimination, which unfortunately continues today,” said Wendy C. Shiba, president of NAPABA. “We are deeply disappointed by the Court’s decision in Shelby County, which does not reflect current realities facing voters, including vulnerable Asian Pacific American voters. We strongly urge Congress to act swiftly in a bipartisan manner to develop a new coverage formula. All Americans who are eligible to vote must be able to do so.”

In 2006, the Senate voted 98-0 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, while the House of Representatives voted 390-33. The Voting Rights Act was first passed by Congress in 1965. Prior to today’s decision, the Court had previously upheld the Voting Rights Act four times.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 66 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

AALDEF Press Release on SCOTUS Decision in Shelby

AALDEF Press Release on SCOTUS Decision in Shelby

AALDEF Internships

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) is a 38-year old New York-based national civil rights organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, advocacy and community education. AALDEF has a 22-person staff and is supported by foundation and corporate grants, individual contributions, and special events. We receive no government funds. For more information about AALDEF and its current activities, visit our website at www.aaldef.org.

Fall 2012 Internships
For Undergraduate, Graduate, and Law Students

Fall internships are available for the following program areas (open to all unless otherwise noted):

Anti-Trafficking Initiative, some policy research and writing related to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and other trafficking-related legislation, outreach and community education as well as administrative tasks related to client case files of women and youth trafficking survivors. **Undergraduate students ONLY**

Community Health Care Initiative, community education and outreach in the areas of immigration, government benefits, language rights, health care access and database entry of legal intakes. **Undergraduate students ONLY**

Economic Justice for Workers, litigation, legal research, and advocacy on behalf of restaurant, garment, nail salon, domestic, and other low-wage workers. 

Educational Equity, legal services, policy work, community education, research and litigation concerning educational equity, affirmative action, juvenile justice, post 9-11 hate violence and racial targeting. **Law students ONLY**

Housing Justice Project, community planning research and field work, community outreach, and research and litigation on housing and land use issues affecting low-income Asian immigrant communities. **Urban planning students encouraged to apply**

Immigrant Access to Justice, litigation, legal services, and organizing/outreach with communities impacted by post 9/11 immigration and law enforcement policies. An additional emphasis on Asian communities access to representation and education about immigration policies and practices that may impact them including unconstitutional DHS stops, new deferred action policies for youth and secured communities.  **Law students ONLY**

Voting Rights, legal research and fact development under the Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause challenging anti-Asian voter discrimination, advocacy on bilingual ballots, and state and local election reform; produce reports and organize public forums; work with volunteer attorneys and assist in organizing legal trainings.

Administrative Assistant, provide administrative support in preparation for AALDEF’s annual gala, including: researching for prospective dinner sponsors and silent auction donors.  Computer experience with databases, graphics and web programs are helpful. **Undergraduate students ONLY.  Workstudy grants accepted.**

Description of Internships. 

Interns are supervised by attorneys and/or AALDEF staff in specific program areas.  These internships are not paid positions, but academic credit may be arranged.  Interns work anywhere between 8 to 25 hours per week.  The internship usually commences with the start of classes and ends in early December.

To Apply:

Any bilingual ability should be stated in the resume.  Bilingual ability is helpful but not required.  Applications should also state the number of hours the intern is able to work per week and which program area(s) you are interested in.  Email applications are accepted.  Applications should be received or postmarked by Tuesday, September 4, 2012.  Send a resume and cover letter (law students should include a writing sample) to:

AALDEF Fall Intern Search
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
99 Hudson Street, 12th floor, New York, New York 10013-2815
Fax: 212-966-4303 or Email: info@aaldef.org

For more information, contact Jennifer Weng at 212-966-5932, ext. 212 or jweng@aaldef.org.

* * *

FALL 2012 Special Events Intern
Undergraduate or Graduate Students

The Special Events Intern will assist in the planning, preparation, and execution of our annual dinner gala and silent auction in February 2013.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

·         Assisting with sponsorship development and outreach, writing materials, managing and following up on reservations, ticket sales, and donations.

·         Maintaining databases and files.

·         Preparing and maintaining sponsor/donor solicitations and acknowledgments, mailings, and emails.

·         Assisting with the production of the invitations and dinner programs.

·         Coordinating silent auction/raffle donations, including developing prospects, solicitations and acknowledgment, brochure and silent auction planning, and production.

·         Meeting event deadlines.

Applicants must be self-motivated, have good organizational and writing skills, be detail oriented, able to work independently, organize and coordinate multiple tasks, develop and manage projects in a timely manner, and have database and internet skills. Some fundraising experience is preferable. Knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel required. Experience using Filemaker is a plus. Flexibility with extra hours around the time of special events is necessary.

This is a temporary part-time position. This position begins September 2012 and will end shortly after the dinner. Hours are flexible. This is an unpaid position. We accept work study grants. Academic credit may be arranged.

To Apply:

Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter ASAP to:

Attn:  Jennifer Weng
Special Events Intern
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson Street, 12th floor
New York, New York 10013
fax: 212.966.4303
email: info@aaldef.org

For more information, contact Jennifer Weng at 212-966-5932, ext. 212 or jweng@aaldef.org

Election Protection Program: Volunteers Needed

We received the following request for volunteers from the Grace Meng for Congress Campaign:

My name is Michael Fleischman; I am organizing the election protection program for Grace Meng’s campaign for Congress this upcoming Tuesday, June 26. Grace would be the first Asian American elected to Congress on the east coast. We expect to have an influx of first-time voters who may face difficulties at the polls. As you know, this is a civil rights issue.

We are recruiting volunteers to serve as poll watchers on Election Day.  We have great needs generally, and the greatest needs during the times that you and other voters are likely not to be working – early morning and evening. The target locations are primarily near Bayside and Elmhurst, and we will providing more guidance to volunteers in the coming days. We want to make sure that everyone who wants to vote and is eligible to vote is indeed able to vote, and we need your help to make sure that happens. Please contact me at fleischman.michael@gmail.com or 201-993-3323 if you can be of assistance. Thank you very much in advance.

Please respond directly to Michael if you can help. Thank you!

AALDEF: Legal Training for Community Groups on May 30th

On Wednesday, May 30, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) will lead two legal trainings geared towards community-based organizations that will be engaging in election-related work this year. The trainings, called “Voters’ Rights, Conducting Voter Registration, and Election Rules for Nonprofits and 501©3s,” will occur once from 12 pm – 1:30 pm and again from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. AALDEF will cover legal liabilities and procedures for your organization regarding election-related activities.

AALDEF will be providing lunch and dinner at the two trainings. The substance of both trainings will be the same, so if interested, attend the one that is most convenient for you. However, please note that the location of each training is different.

For more information, contact the Voting Rights Organizer Chi-Ser Tran at ctran@aaldef.org

**Please RSVP by Friday, May 25th at 12pm (noon) here.

AALDEF Voting Rights Summer 2012

Bilingual Ballots and Language Assistance for Asian Americans

A message from our friends at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund:

Dear friends:

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has compiled multilingual fact sheets regarding election language assistance in 10 Asian languages.

As you may know, in October of 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the new jurisdictions and languages covered under the Language Assistance Provisions (Section 203) of the federal Voting Rights Act.  Section 203 requires covered jurisdictions to provide language assistance so that limited English proficient Americans can effectively participate in the electoral process.

As a result, 22 counties in eleven (11) states are now required to provide bilingual ballots, interpreters at poll sites, and other translated materials in Asian languages.  AALDEF’s multilingual fact sheets explain the law’s requirements, its benefits, and how to report problems to ensure that all Asian Americans can fully exercise their right to vote.  Our fact sheets are available in the following languages:

·  English
·  Chinese
·  Korean
·  Vietnamese
·  Filipino (Ilocano)
·  Filipino (Tagalog)
·  Japanese
·  Bengali
·  Hindi
·  Urdu
·  Punjabi

We are delighted that more Asian Americans will be able to exercise their right to vote through this expansion and hope that you all find these community fact sheets useful.

For more information, please contact me at ctran@aaldef.org or 212-966-5932.


Chi-Ser Tran
Voting Rights Organizer

Dear friend,
My name is Theo Harris and I am steering committee member of the Minority Voting Rights Committee of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council. The NYDLC is a project of the New York State Democratic Party and a chapter of the National Democratic Lawyers Council. We are a group of New York attorneys and others who have a deep commitment to Democratic politics and who share the common goal of protecting each citizen’s right to vote. Voting rights are under attack in our country. The Republican Party is engaging in deliberate tactics to disenfranchise those most likely to vote for Democrats, and it is critical that Democratic attorneys use their skills to ensure that the right to vote is upheld. This fall, a strong Election Protection effort will be a critical key to victory for President Obama in New York, Pennsylvania and other swing states.

On Wednesday May 9th at 7pm, you are invited to attend the monthly meeting of the Minority Voting Rights Committee (NYDLC). Our guest speaker will be Macharia “Cha” Edmonds Esq(Obama For America-NY African American Outreach Coordinator). Mr. Edmonds will be discussing the campaign’s extensive plan for constituency outreach and empowerment and how one can get involved. We will also give committee updates on the recent poll watching and survey taking we did during the April 24 primary in Pennsylvania. As well as discussing the field plan and upcoming volunteer opportunities over the next couple of months leading to the November election. Please feel free to invite others whom you believe maybe interested. We just ask that they RSVP prior to the event to have your name listed at the front security desk.

What: Protect the Vote! – Monthly Minority Voting Rights Committee
When: Wednesday, May 9th 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Where: The Law Firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. 787 Seventh Avenue (btwn 51St. and 52 St.)
RSVP: Is required. Please reserve your spot by emailing tlharris_esq@yahoo.com

This meeting is sponsored by the Minority Voting Rights Committee of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council (NYDLC), Obama for America-NY. It is open to all attorneys and non-attorneys who are interested in volunteering to support the President

We hope to see you there!

Theo Harris Esq.
Steering Committee Member of the Minority Voting Rights Committee of
New York Democratic Lawyers Council
A Voting Rights Project of the
NYS Democratic Party and the DNC
(917) 602-9134