Friday, October 21, 2016

The time is now! Register to vote

Actor Ken Jeong urges people to register to vote.
OCT. 24 is the deadline for registering to vote in California. 

Besides being the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S., Asian/Americans have the highest income and are the best educated – both factors that have traditionally produced high voter turnout.

However, as a voting bloc, Asian/Americans don’t. In fact, they have the lowest voter participation of any demographic group.

The growth of the ethnic group is mainly due to immigration meaning a large portion of AAAPIs are first-generation immigrants. One of the reasons for low voter turnout is the language barrier even though it is required that voter assistance should be given to anyone having difficulty with the ballot.

In 2014, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund received more than 340 complaints from Asian/Americans reporting problems voting. More than 1 in 5 of these grievances involved being asked to prove their U.S. citizenship in states that don’t require ID to vote. Generally, only a few people in those states would have to provide proof of citizenship.

Another common problem among Asian-American voters is mistakes with their names, causing them to not show up correctly on voter rolls. He said Asian-American names may be unusual to people entering the voter roll data.

This election cycle there has been an aggressive voter registration drive among Asian/Americans by the major parties and nonpartisan agencies.

The anti-immigrant and racist tenor of the rhetoric has also driven AAPI to register. It is still unclear how successful those efforts have been.
AAPI celebrities have joined other celebrities by lending their time and names to the registration drives including Darren Criss and Jenna Ushkowitz

Because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from the Trump camp, Asian/American voters have been steadily drifting towards the Democratic Party. This leftward movement has actually been happening over the past several presidential elections. A national survey in the spring by Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, a nonpartisan research group, showed “a significant leftward shift” since 2012 among Asian-American registered voters,
A majority of Asian-American voters – 55 percent overall – supported Al Gore in 2000, while John Kerry garnered 56 percent support from these communities in 2004. More recently, President Barack Obama was re-elected to the White House in 2012 racking up 73 percent of the 4 million Asian-American voters who cast ballots that November – up from the 62 percent support he received in 2008.

Fifteen percent identified as Republican.

The Clinton campaign and Democratic Party have been the most aggressive in wooing the AAPI vote and appointing them to highly visible roles, including long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who has been by the candidates side since her days in the Senate.

RELATED: Clinton targeting AAPI voters
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has a resident staff member in Las Vegas dedicated to Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. Staff members and volunteers here speak Chinese, Korean, Hindi and Tagalog. The campaign has recently been conducting native language training on how to use voting machines in a local Chinese cultural center. Volunteers are sent to court supporters in Buddhist temples.

Comedian Aziz Ansari who stars in the Netflix hit Master of None, aims his PSA at the undecided voters.

Although the number of AAPI voters is comparatively small, 4-6 percent, in some states and cities, such as swing-states Nevada and Virginia, they make up a larger percentage and could be determining factors in the vote outcome.

In California, people can register to vote online.

Once registered, go out and vote this November.