US: 7-language campaign to educate S Asian voters

A coalition of South Asian community organisations is distributing materials in Bengali, Gujurati, Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil and Urdu.

Updated: Sep 10, 2012, 11:44 AM IST

Washington: A coalition of South Asian community organisations has launched a national, non-partisan campaign called South Asian Vote! in seven South Asian languages to engage the community in the November 06 US elections.

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) said it is doing this through several strategies including distribution of voter education materials in Bengali, Gujurati, Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil and Urdu.

The material covers Know Your Rights, How to Get Involved, and the Election Process; voter outreach and voter registration by civic leaders throughout the country; and election monitoring and protection for language access.

"Are You Ready To Vote?" is a checklist is for US citizens, who will be at least 18 years old by election day, and have met their state`s residency requirements for voting to make sure they are ready exercise their fundamental right to vote.

"A Guide To The Presidential Elections" shows how an individual`s vote counts, it says.

"By deciding who should represent you and your community in local, state and federal government, your vote can help shape the policies and laws that affect the daily lives of all Americans," the guide tells the community.

"Unfortunately, in past elections, many South Asians have faced challenges at the polls due to voter intimidation and suppression and have encountered difficulties in casting their ballot due to language barriers," SAALT said.

Noting that "As a result, many have felt discouraged from participating in the electoral process," it said a guide titled `Know Your Rights On Election Day` answers frequently asked questions about protecting one`s right to vote on election day and where to turn if they feel their rights are violated.

"As we approach the 2012 Elections, it is important for everyone, citizen or not, to become involved in the civic and political process in the US," SAALT said suggesting ten ways members of the community can make a difference in the 2012 elections!