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AAPI Communities Gearing Up for California’s June 5 Primary


VoteViews from the Edge

With just A few days left to register to vote, a coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and advocacy groups in the Los Angeles area has launched a drive urging community members to vote in California’s June 5 primary election.

To encourage voter turnout, the coalition is engaged in a comprehensive get out the vote and phone banking campaign that will reach out to 25,000 Asian voters in multiple languages, including Chinese, Tagalog, Korean, and Vietnamese who live throughout Los Angeles County.

“Due to lower voter turnout in primaries, AAPI communities’ votes will have a greater impact,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice-LA.

“By getting out the vote, we will show policymakers and elected officials that our voice matters and that our communities demand to be heard.”

This year is a particularly important year for Californians who will have the opportunity to vote for U.S. Senator, California State Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State in addition to several other State offices and five ballot measures. A host of local issues will also be decided by voters.

Between 2012 and 2016, the number of Asian Americans registered to vote in California increased 11%. Further, Asian Americans made up over 9% of California voters during the 2016 General Election.

“Voter turnout in California among AAPIs was 70%,” said Shelly Chen, demographic research analyst at Advancing Justice-LA. “In many districts throughout California, AAPIs made up a large proportion of their margin of victory.”

The coalition includes Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance, Pilipino Workers Center, Filipino Migrant Center, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles, Asian Youth Center, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, and Advancing Justice-LA.

“Phone banking efforts in our communities are vital,” says Alexandra Suh, executive director of Koreatown Immigrant Worker’s Alliance. “Many first-generation voters may not speak English and lack information about candidates, ballot measures, and the election process in general. We are providing them with the in-language support they need to harness their power to speak out about policy and advocate for the change they want to see.”

In California, the last day to register to vote this Monday if you want to vote on June 5.

Eligible Californians can check their voter registration status on the Secretary of State website  or register to vote online at registertovote.ca.gov, which is available in eight different Asian languages. For seasoned, new, and limited-English proficient voters, easy-to-understand voter guides are available to download in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese at easyvoterguide.org.

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