Asian voters in US 'face discrimination'

Many Asian American voters faced discrimination from voting officials during 2006 mid-term elections in the US, a civil rights group has alleged.

The report is based on a multilingual exit poll conducted among 4,700 Asian American voters in 25 US cities.

It documents alleged violations of the Voting Rights Act and Help America Vote Act and cases of "anti-Asian attitude".


The report by the Asian American Legal Defence and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 34-year-old civil rights organisation, comes as presidential primaries are in full swing in the United States.

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.

It said 59 Asian American voters had complained.

In New York, 83% of voters who were asked to show identification were not legally required to do so, the report says.

It says English-speaking voters were not asked for ID.

The discrimination was "racially motivated and at the same time also demonstrated a bureaucratic approach", AALDEF lawyer Glenn D Magpantay told the BBC.

The survey found 40% of Pakistani-origin, 38% of Bangladeshi-origin and 17% of Indian origin-voters could not speak English well. One-third of Urdu speakers and the same number of Bengali speakers said they needed the assistance of interpreters in order to vote.

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