Second presidential debate tonight!

With four weeks left till Elec­tion Day, the pres­i­den­tial race is heat­ing up! The sec­ond of three pres­i­den­tial debates is tonight at 9pm EST, so I hope every­one’s popped their pop­corn, read up on their elec­tion cov­er­age and gen­er­al­ly made their debate prepa­ra­tions, because I think its going to be a good one. This debate is in the “town­hall” style where ques­tions are going to be asked either from a pool of unde­cid­ed vot­ers or by mod­er­a­tor, Tom Brokaw, from ques­tions sub­mit­ted via the inter­net. There are some pret­ty spe­cif­ic rules about the town­hall (for instance, peo­ple who asked ques­tions will be filmed ask­ing the ques­tions but not react­ing) and there is also no fol­low-up ques­tions or direct ques­tion­ing between the can­di­dates. Regard­less, it promis­es to be an excit­ing view­ing so I hope every­one tunes in! Check it out on any num­ber of net­works and cable sta­tions at 9pm ESt/8pm CST/6pm PST.

If you want to read more, check out a post from the Chica­go Sun-Times, here <>

What Do I Need to Bring to the Polls? and Document the Vote!

It’s almost here! Elec­tion Day! After a rather long pri­ma­ry sea­son, this elec­tion is com­ing to close in the most excit­ing way pos­si­ble. Vot­er turnout is expect­ed to be quite impres­sive and if ear­ly vot­ing is any indi­ca­tion Amer­i­cans around the coun­try are excit­ed (and com­m­mit­ted, with ear­ly vot­ing loca­tions in some states hav­ing wait times in excess of SIX hours) about hav­ing their say this elec­tion. So for every­one get­ting ready to vote on Elec­tion Day, make sure that the ID require­ments in your state don’t keep you from cast­ing a bal­lot. Lookup your state’s ID require­ment on

Also, while you’re wait­ing online, doc­u­ment the vote, take pic­tures or video of how vot­ing looks in your com­mu­ni­ty. If you have any inter­est­ing sto­ries to share about first time vot­ers or the excite­ment in your fam­i­ly or cir­cle of friends about vot­ing, we want to hear about it. Are you vot­ing, get­ting out the vote, or mon­i­tor­ing at the polls on Elec­tion Day? Bring a cam­era or video­cam­era with you to doc­u­ment pic­tures and sto­ries of South Asian vot­ers. Send pic­tures, video, writ­ten reflec­tions, quotes and more to by Wednes­day, Novem­ber 5th at 5PM!

Here’s an inter­est­ing PSA I found that real­ly under­scores how mean­ing­ful the vote is, it may take a cou­ple of hours (so I sug­gest bring­ing a book… and maybe a fold­ing chair) but going out and vot­ing remains sig­nif­i­cant long after Elec­tion Day.

Voter registration deadlines are coming up so GET REGISTERED!

Civic and polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion are core val­ues here at SAALT. While its impor­tant to be engaged on a con­sis­tent basis, not just dur­ing elec­tion cycles, no one can deny that the act of vot­ing is one of the most mean­ing­ful expres­sions of demo­c­ra­t­ic par­tic­i­pa­tion. There’s been a lot of talk about this elec­tion, and there’s noth­ing wrong with get­ting swept up in the excite­ment of the pres­i­den­tial race.

If you need any addi­tion­al con­vinc­ing, check out this video:

The Vice Presidential debate is tonight!

So the first (and only) Vice Pres­i­den­tial debate is tak­ing place tonight. There’s been a lot of chat­ter, in the blo­gos­phere, the main­stream media and, undoubt­ed­ly, in more than a few per­son­al con­ver­sa­tions, about the impor­tance of this debate. Con­sid­er­ing that this is the only time we will be able to see Sen. Joseph Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin face off, I am hop­ing that peo­ple tune in. The debate will be mod­er­at­ed by Gwen Ifill, who mod­er­ates Wash­ing­ton Week and is a senior cor­re­spon­dent on New­sHour with Jim Lehrer. Ifill also mod­er­at­ed the 2004 debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards in 2004. I think its going to be an excit­ing two hours and I hope every­one tunes into all the major chan­nels at 9pm EST.


Elections ’08: Roadmap to the White House, now translated!

One of the things we here at SAALT are always try­ing to do is make sure that, as much as pos­si­ble, the infor­ma­tion and resources we put out is as acces­si­ble to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. SAALT’s Build­ing Com­mu­ni­ty Strength, out­lines that lim­it­ed Eng­lish pro­fi­cien­cy rates are between 20% to 50% in South Asian com­mu­ni­ties, with rates increas­ing as income lev­els decrease (Won­der­ing what “lim­it­ed Eng­lish pro­fi­cien­cy” means? It refers to the abil­i­ty to read, speak, and write Eng­lish less than “very well.”)

With that in mind, SAALT strives to trans­late some of our most rel­e­vant mate­ri­als into South Asian lan­guges so that lim­it­ed Eng­lish pro­fi­cient indi­vid­u­als can take advan­tage of our resources. One exam­ple is What You Need to Know to Become a US Cit­i­zen (trans­lat­ed into Bangla, Hin­di and Gujarati). We are also pleased to announce the trans­la­tion of one of our new Elec­tions ’08 doc­u­ments, Roadmap to the White House, into Bangla, Hin­di, Pun­jabi, Tamil and Urdu). It’s a great resource to use by any­one to learn about the process­es of the elec­tion cycle. Orga­ni­za­tions and indi­vid­u­als are wel­come to use it for out­reach and edu­ca­tion with­in the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty. Please feel free to down­load these doc­u­ments and dis­trib­ute them.

Check out these oth­er resources by SAALT on issues fac­ing lim­it­ed Eng­lish pro­fi­cient South Asians!