Voting materials are now available in Chinese for the first time ever ahead of primary election

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- They're available in English and Spanish and now for the first time Pennsylvania's online voter services are available in Chinese.

Those services include registering to vote and checking your registration status, finding your district and polling place, applying for a mail-in or absentee ballot, and checking election night returns.

With days away from the registration deadline for the primary and Asian American Pacific Islanders Heritage month, a community is being seen and heard.

"It's a big deal because language access is always the number one need and sometimes barriers for the Asian American community," said Stephanie Sun.

The language addition comes after data collected from the 2020 census.

Stephanie Sun is the Executive director for the Governor's Advisory commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

She says come the May 17th primary, the Chinese language will be available on voting machines and even signage on polling places.

In Pennsylvania there are about 90,000 Americans proficient in Chinese.

"People are very excited for this and they feel they're more included. They have been seen, been heard and respected," said Sun.

But there's still a lot of work to do. While voter registration and turnout in the AAPI community have grown from 2016-2020, it still lags compared to other groups.

"Just like the Black community, it's lack of information on to who to vote for, even to when to vote or how to register," said Eugene Thomas, President of Power Circle Mentors.
Thomas, who is Black and Korean, runs Power Circle Mentors.

"It's important for me and Stephanie to even bring information and resources at events and schools and after school programs," he said.

They aim to get a community engaged by making them feel included and seen.

Under federal law, Philadelphia is now required to offer voting machines, signs and assistance in Chinese, as well as Spanish. Berks and Lehigh counties are required to provide language assistance in Spanish.

Voters until Monday, May 2nd to register to vote for the primary, which is on May 17th.
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