Nationwide, Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing race group, according to the 2010 Census, and New York City is home to more Asians than anywhere else in the country. In 2008, only about half of the country’s eligible Asian-American voters were registered, but of those registered voters, turnout was high — 86 percent, according to one advocacy group. The World Journal reports on efforts underway here to harness that massive and growing power in the voting booth. The article, translated from Chinese, is below.
As the Asian-American population increases rapidly, its voter participation has garnered much attention. On Aug. 23, Asian Americans for Equality and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development announced that they will work together for the 2012 presidential election season. They plan to increase voter registration and outreach in the Chinese communities of Chinatown, Flushing, and Brooklyn areas. Their goal is to increase voter participation for this year’s primary election on September 13 and general election on November 6.
Yesterday, the CAPACD invited Boris Pincus, a representative of the Board of Elections in the City of New York, to show residents how to use the voter machine. Pincus, who himself is an immigrant, said that he totally understands the struggles of the immigrants. He said he recognizes the growth of the Asian-American population, and hopes to protect everyone’s rights and to convey an understanding of the importance of voting.
According to statistics provided by the Asian Americans for Equality, during the 2008 election, the United States had approximately 7 million qualified Asian voters, but only 55.3 percent of them were registered. Among the registered voters, 86 percent voted. In the northeast, voter participation among those who are 18 to 24 years old was especially low, with only 30.5 percent of them voting.
Asian Americans for Equality also cited statistics provided by the Board of Elections in the City of New York. According to the statistics, 7 percent of the city’s voters are Asian-American. However, in the 2009 mayoral election, only 26 to 50 percent of the Asian-Americans voted. According to the 2010 Census, the growth rate for New York City’s Asian population in the past ten years is 37. For example, the Sunset Park area in Brooklyn has seen a growth of 1,000 qualified Asian-American voters each year, the Census found. In Bensonhurst, there has been an increase of 500 qualified voters every year among the Asian population. All these statistics indicate that as a group, Asian-Americans have enormous potential influence during the 2012 election, at the state and national level. And also, that voter participation is extremely important.
As the [September] primaries approach, Christopher Kui, the Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality, is encouraging residents to come out to vote. He pointed out that the Asian population is growing rapidly in New York City, the metropolis with the largest Asian population in the United States.
Eunsook Lee from CAPACD said that of the 16 million Asians in the United States, 1.2 million do not have proper immigration status. Many do not have health insurance, especially among the Chinese and the Korean population… She hopes that voting would destroy the perception that Asians do not care about community and national affairs. CAPACD works with 25 other organizations in 14 states. Their goal is to increase the voter rolls by 500,000 Asian voters this year.
Douglas Nam Le, AAFE’s Director of Community Building and Organizing, said that AAFE wants to help 1,200 residents to register as voters and encourage 15,000 Chinese people to vote through educational outreach, mailings, phone calls, and mass media. The change in the locations of polling places and [confusion about] the new voting machines are among the reasons that Asian voter participation is not as high as expected. The organization hopes to set up hotlines on September 13 and November 6 to keep voters informed about the correct places for voting.