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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yee Seeks 'Truth in Naming' on Election Ballots - Bay Citizen

From the Bay Citizen,
State Sen. Leland Yee has reintroduced a bill that would require candidates for elected office to use an accurate phoenetic interpretation of their name when it appears on Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese-lanugage ballots.

The bill comes amid concern that more and more non-Asian candidates are listing Chinese names on San Francisco ballots in an effort to appeal to the city's growing block of Chinese voters.

In this past election, for example, Malia Cohen, who was recently elected supervisor in San Francisco's District 10, was listed as "Kuo Han" on Chinese-language ballots.

Michael Nava, a third-generation Californian of Mexican descent running to become a judge on the San Francisco Superior Court, called himself Zheng-Ping Lee on the ballot. (Nava lost to Richard Ulmer).

In a statement, Yee said his bill, SB 88, "attempts to stop the last-minute, deceptive practice of using a fake name simply to deceive Asian voters to win an election."

Yee introduced a similar bill in the last legislative session, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"This unscrupulous practice should be prevented," Schwarzenegger wrote, "however, a change in state policy is unnecessary. Under current law, local election officials have the authority to address this fraudulent behavior and to set policies that are appropriate for their unique jurisdictions. For example, the director of elections in San Francisco has established a Chinese name translation policy to address concerns that improper translations were being used by candidates in local races.”

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