HomeAsian AmericansAsian Fortune: Overcoming Apathy in the Asian American Community

Asian Fortune: Overcoming Apathy in the Asian American Community

VotingJust 31 percent of Asian American voters turned out to cast a ballot in 2010. That’s lower than whites at 49% and blacks at 44%.

Asian Fortune looked at what accounts for this voter apathy among Asian Americans.

A PEW report found that 37% of registered Asian American voters said they were too busy to vote.

“A lot of our voters are coming from countries where the whole idea of a democracy and voting and expressing your opinion isn’t as promoted,” Christine Chen of AAPI Vote says. “So many people are focused on their livelihood, they’re not really connecting their dots [that] you need to become a U.S. citizen.”

Another issue is language access. Many precincts with large number of limited English proficiency voters lack language assistance services.

A recent Field Poll taken in California found a high percentage of Asian American voters undecided on upcoming issues on the ballot.

New American Media found 41 percent of Asian American voters are still undecided on the Governor’s race where incumbent Jerry Brown is expected to easily defeat Republican challenger and Indian American Neil Kashkari.

“They (Asian Americans) are the most heavily immigrant group in country,” said
Karthick Ramakrishnan, professor of public policy and political science at the University of California, Riverside. That, he says, means less experience with the political system.

“It’s so much white noise that until you’re forced to make a decision and you can see that there’s some topic or issue that really affects you directly, those types of things aren’t going to make you make a decision sooner,” said Madalene Mielke, founder and principal of the Arum Group LLC, a Democratic political consulting company.


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