November will mark the first presidential election when the Cook County Clerk’s office will provide targeted language assistance to Chinese-speaking voters, Clerk David Orr announced.
Chinese-speaking voters in 13 precincts will be aided by bilingual signage, Chinese ballot books and bilingual voting instructions. The Clerk’s office is also seeking election judges who speak English and Chinese to help ensure that voting goes smoothly for voters in areas with large Chinese-speaking populations.
Cook County cross-referenced its voter registration files with precinct-level Census data to identify large numbers of Chinese voters in Maine, New Trier, Niles, Northfield, Palatine and Schaumburg townships.
“We typically see people turning out in larger numbers for presidential elections, and we hope to see those same increases in Chinese-speaking voters who know they can easily get the information they need to cast their ballots,” Orr said.
The Clerk’s office began targeting Chinese-speaking voters in 2002, when the U.S. Department of Justice directed election authorities across the country to use updated Census data to provide language assistance in areas where large portions of the population may have difficulty understanding English.
The federal Voting Rights Act requires Cook County to provide assistance in each language for which more than 5 percent of the voting-age population – or more than 10,000 people – does not speak sufficient English to vote. Spanish- and Chinese-speaking voters fall within the guidelines in areas of suburban Cook County
In addition to Election Day materials, the Clerk’s office has printed bilingual voter information pamphlets, voter registration forms, absentee ballot applications, how-to-vote instructions and has established language-assistance hotlines and placed bilingual judges in Chinese-speaking precincts.
Bilingual individuals who speak Chinese and English and want to help provide language assistance in suburban Cook County by serving as an election judge can submit an application online at www.voterinfonet.com, or call (312) 603-0965.
A list of suburban polling places designated as Chinese precincts is below.
Suburban Cook County Chinese-assistance Precincts November 2004
Township Pct Location Address
Maine 111 Northwest Suburban 7800 W. Lyons St.,
Jewish Congregation Morton Grove
New Trier 70 Loyola Academy 1100 N. Laramie Ave.,
Niles 14 Culver School 6901 Oakton St., Niles
24 Oakton Park Rec 4701 Oakton St.,Skokie
45 Holy Trinity Church 8201 N. Karlov Ave.,
72 Mansfield Park 5830 Church St.,
Fieldhouse Morton Grove
88 Lakeside Church 3939 W. Howard St.,
95 Old Orchard 9310 N. Kenton Ave.,
Junior High Skokie
Northfield 71 Devon Bank 950 E. Milwaukee Ave.,
84 Devon Bank 950 E. Milwaukee Ave.,
Palatine 63 Fire Station 1300 Westbury Drive,
75 Fire Station 1300 Westbury Drive,
Schaumburg 64 Lincoln Prairie 500 Hillcrest Blvd.,
School Hoffman Estates