Why Many Vietnamese Don't Vote - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/28/02

Why Many Vietnamese Don't Vote

Quy Kinard of D'Iberville has trouble deciding which brand of rice paper to buy at Saigon Oriental Store in D'Iberville. But she has no trouble deciding which candidates she'll vote for in next Tuesday's elections. Kinard said "I vote in every election, because I think it's my duty".

But, some Vietnamese on the Coast, like Vuong Quan of Woolmarket, don't have the right to vote. There's a good reason for that.

Vuong Quan said "I'm not an American citizen. I'm always too busy to get the paperwork done so I can become a citizen".

One of the biggest problems that's preventing many Vietnamese from going to the polls is the language barrier. Store Owner Ty Lam said "Because I don't understand English very well, I wouldn't know who to vote for. If I can speak and read English, then I would know which person is the best one".

Bruce Hoang of D'Iberville said "A lot of Vietnamese don't know what the issues are on the ballot, and what's going on".

Those in the Vietnamese community say one solution is bringing in a translator. Hoang said "If they have people who would come out and give the people a flyer written in Vietnamese or tell them what's going on, they might come out and vote".

Quy Kinard said "If somebody can explain to them why they have to vote, then I think they will.  The best time to reach them is during church, because it's always crowded".

That way, perhaps more Vietnamese residents can check-out the candidates and the issues, and make informed choices.

Several Vietnamese say there's another reason why they don't cast ballots. They came from the Communist regime in North Vietnam, where citizens don't get to vote for their leaders.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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