Group seeks to mo­bi­lize Asian-Amer­i­can vot­ers

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By By PAUL ZHANG WELITZKIN YUNBI zhangyunbi@chi­ in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­

The num­ber of Asian-Amer­i­can vot­ers in the US has nearly dou­bled in the last decade, and on Tues­day one group will be spurring them to regis­ter so they can vote in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on Nov 8.

Tues­day is Na­tional Voter Reg­is­tra­tion Day and the group Asian and Pa­cific Is­lan­der Vote (APIAVote) is plan­ning events across the coun­try for the Asian com­mu­nity, a fast-grow­ing de­mo­graphic seg­ment cov­eted by both the Demo­crat and Repub­li­can par­ties.

APIAVote is a non­par­ti­san or­ga­ni­za­tion that works to mo­bi­lize Asian Amer­i­cans and Pa­cific Is­lan­ders to ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the Amer­i­can elec­toral sys­tem.

“We pre­fer to take a lo­cal­ized ap­proach to in­creas­ing voter par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Asian com­mu­nity by part­ner­ing with lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions,” Al­ton Wang, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and devel­op­ment as­so­ciate for APIAVote, said.

Wang said APIAVote pro­vides tech­ni­cal sup­port and train­ing to help groups in­crease voter turnout in a par­tic­u­lar area. APIAVote is part­ner­ing with the Asian Amer­i­can Or­ga­niz­ing Project in the Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul area. “We are pro­vid­ing them a list of vot­ers in the Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul area so they can con­tact them and urge them to get fam­ily mem­bers and friends reg­is­tered to vote,” said Wang.

Turn out is al­ways a chal­lenge in the US, which has a voter reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem that in­volves lo­cal, state and fed­eral re­quire­ments. In the 2008 elec­tion, 62.3 per­cent of el­i­gi­ble ci­ti­zens voted. That fell to an es­ti­mated 57.5 per­cent in 2012, ac­cord­ing to the Bi­par­ti­san Pol­icy Cen­ter and the Cen­ter for the Study of the Amer­i­can Elec­torate.

Last spring a poll of Asian-Amer­i­can reg­is­tered vot­ers was con­ducted with Asian Amer­i­cans Ad­vanc­ing Jus­tice and AAPI data. US vot­ers of Asian In­dian, Chi­nese, Filipino, Ja­panese, Korean and Viet­namese de­scent were in­cluded in the sur­vey of more than 1,200 reg­is­tered vot­ers.

It showed that en­thu­si­asm for this year’s elec­tion in the Asian com­mu­nity is much higher than it was in the 2014 elec­tion. Ap­prox­i­mately 51 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they were more en­thu­si­as­tic about the up­com­ing elec­tion com­pared to just 28 per­cent in 2014.

“2014 was not a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and that could ac­count for some of the dif­fer­ence,” noted Wang. “Still, this is a very in­ter­est­ing elec­tion in which there is no in­cum­bent.”

The num­ber of Asian-Amer­i­can vot­ers in the last decade has in­creased to 3.9 mil­lion vot­ers in 2012 from more than 2 mil­lion in 2000, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress and AAPI Data.

We pre­fer to take a lo­cal­ized ap­proach to in­creas­ing voter par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Asian com­mu­nity.” Al­ton Wang, APIAVote

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