Asian Americans appear to be showing up for early voting that is allowed in 37 states
By Ed Diokno
You can’t say AAPI celebrities haven’t done what they can to get Asian American Pacific Islander voters to register. They have taken part in numerous Public Service Announcements stating why it is important to have a voice in our democracy.
All that work appears to be having its desired effect. In the early voting conducted in 37 states, polls indicate that Asian Americans have turned out in heavier numbers than they have ever done before; Latinos are making their presence felt in states like New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Colorado. However, the turnout of African American voters has not matched the numbers in 2012 when President Obama was running for reelection.
Early and absentee voting has exploded in popularity in recent years, as Election Day has shifted from a single day in November to a weeks-long and sometimes months-long period where voters can choose from many options to cast their ballots including by mail, at early voting sites or at Election Day polling places.Thus far, more than 13.4 million votes have been cast, far higher than the rate in 2012, according to Associated Press data. In all, more than 46 million people —or as much as 40 percent of the electorate — are expected to vote before Election Day, Nov. 8.
Asian American turnout in early voting has been slightly boosted this year, according to several academic and media analyses.The collective category of mixed-race, Asian and other-race voters accounted for 209,000 ballots after the first full weekend of in-person early voting ended last Sunday.
With another week to go, that is already three quarters of the entire 2012 early-voting total.
Hillary Clinton is building on the Obama coalition as Latino, Asian American, and suburban women voters are becoming a bigger part of the Democratic coalition, according to Robbie Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. The fourth leg of the Democratic table is the African American vote, which overwhelmingly Democratic.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy is turning the Democratic Party into the diverse face of America’s future.
In Nevada, a key battleground state, early voting was down, but the Democratic lead widened after the start of in-person voting last week. Democrats lead in returned ballots, 46 percent to 35 percent. Ballots from older white voters declined significantly while those from Hispanics and Asian Americans rose.
In Colorado, where early voting has been by mail, Democrats led 40 percent to 34 percent. In 2012, Democrats trailed Republicans at this point by 10 percentage points. Since then, registered Democrats have surpassed Republicans in the state.
Even in a Republican stronghold like Texas, the heavy early voting by Latinos is expected to give Clinton an edge. The state does not break down voters by political affiliation.
With just a few days before Nov. 8, Asian American nonpartisan and partisan groups are increasing their efforts to ensure that the AAPI voice is heard in local and national contests.
“Every eligible voter in the United States should be able to cast a ballot and participate in our democracy,” said Mee Moua, executive director and president of Advancing Justice | AAJC. “Ensuring that all voters know their rights at the polls is critical to their participation this November. As Asian Americans continue to grow in population, and turn out to vote, we must do everything we can to support their participation and make visible their political impact.”