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.
Fifteen percent identified as Republican.
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.