California – The ACLU of California issued this press release (below) last week regarding the possible voter intimidation of Hmong (voters whose ethnic origins are from the mountainous regions of China and Vietnam) living in the northern regions of the state.
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Since last Friday, the ACLU of California’s Voting Rights Project has been working on a grave situation in California’s northern most county – Siskiyou County – home to a large community of Hmong Americans, hundreds of whom are newly registered voters.
We have reason to believe that since last Wednesday, the sheriff and other county officials have been engaged in a targeted voter intimidation campaign against the Hmong community, resulting in widespread fear of voting and unlawful and retaliatory arrest.
The ACLU has been working with local community members to recruit and train more than 30 poll monitors who will be at polling sites today throughout Siskiyou County to protect this underrepresented community’s right to vote. Already today, voters with confirmed registration cards are finding that they are not listed on voter rosters and are being forced to vote provisionally.
The story is particularly disturbing because the people being targeted are refugees who came here to escape oppression. Many of them fought alongside the United States to promote democratic freedoms. On a day that should encapsulate everything they sought by becoming American citizens, they are faced instead with threats and intimidation when trying to cast their ballots.
California Deputy Attorneys General and election observers from the California Secretary of State’s office have been dispatched to Siskiyou County and will be monitoring the election. Attorneys will continue to monitor voting during the day, and as importantly, will be on site to monitor the vote count this evening.