Hillary Clinton advanced one step closer to the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday when she faced off against challenger Bernie Sanders in New York State’s primary race — a major prize in the contest for delegate numbers — and emerged victorious. This race was of particular interest to the AAPI community given that New York City boasts the largest single concentration of Asian Americans of any US city: NYC is home to roughly 1 million adult Asian American citizens who represent ~12% of the city’s residents.
Although structural obstacles continue to stymie Asian American voter turnout, roughly 20,000 Asian American voters turned out in New York City on Tuesday to cast a ballot in the Democratic or Republican primary races. Based on New York Times’ exit polling, Asian Americans were 2% of voters who turned out on Tuesday, up from ~1% in 2008.
Too often, mainstream exit pollsters fail to collect a large enough sample of Asian American or Pacific Islander voters to reveal our community’s voting trends. Thankfully, however, the AAPI community has routinely stepped up to meet that challenge.
First – I hope you’re registered to vote. If you aren’t registered, you can do so here.
I think it’s really important for us to participate in our nation’s democracy and be part of the political discourse, and voting is certainly an integral part of that. But that’s not the main reason why I think it’s important for members of the AAPI community to register to vote and actually vote.
REGISTER TO VOTE because this isn’t just about you. This is about those who don’t have that right but still deserve to be heard. Your vote includes the voices of our families, friends, and fellow community members who – for one reason or another – are not eligible to vote.
Just because people aren’t voters, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by how people vote. I can’t vote and yet I am affected by policies regarding immigration, education, and social justice. I go to public school and see the influence of voters everyday in the curriculum, the allocation of resources, and the quality of teaching. I am affected by immigration policies, as many of my family members live overseas or are recent arrivals. I am affected by actions of politicians who may or may not believe in climate change and in investing in efforts to promote environmental sustainability.
However, I’m one of the lucky ones because I won’t be ineligible for much longer, as I can register to vote when I turn 18. But what about the millions in our community who aren’t as lucky?