By EunSook Lee
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 25, 2012) — The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development is boosting voter turnout among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders through a groundbreaking Civic Engagement project across 14 states this election season.
National CAPACD’s Civic Engagement project is providing critical funding, training and technical assistance to 25 partner organizations, including Chinese American Service League, VietAid, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and the Korean Resource Center. These organizations are offering voter registration, education and GOTV services in rising Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
“The overwhelming myth that AAPIs have succeeded ignores the reality of an underserved community,” said National CAPACD Executive Director, Lisa Hasegawa. “Over two million AAPIs live at or below the poverty level; the majority are more likely to be uninsured and unable to access affordable and quality health care; and 1.2 million are undocumented and 2 million have been waiting up to two decades to be reunited with family members. In other words, there are serious bread and butter issues motivating our community to the polls on November 6.”
The AAPI community has grown 46 percent since 2000, and now makes up 5 percent of the total population. According to researchers Karthick Ramakrishnanan and Taeku Lee, authors of the National Asian American Survey, the community is experiencing incredible growth in this year’s battleground states, with 116 percent growth in Nevada, 80 percent in New Hampshire, and 72 percent in Florida.
In recent years, AAPI voters have shifted noticeably from Republican to Democratic support: the study shows 52 percent likely to vote Democratic and 17 percent Republican. 31 percent of those surveyed are undecided, representing a potential boon for future candidates who appeal to this growing demographic.
“With our community growing so quickly, we need to make sure our voters are educated and our voices are heard. One way is to not just vote, but get out the word to vote early,” said Hasegawa, noting that early voting has already begun in 32 states and the District of Columbia.
AAPI voters are quickly emerging as a powerful and deeply invested demographic. As National CAPACD continues to mobilize this growing voter bloc this election season, AAPIs are positioned to prove themselves as a pivotal and underserved demographic this election season.
National CAPACD was founded in 1999 with the mission to be a powerful voice for the unique community development needs of AAPI communities and to strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations to create neighborhoods of hope and opportunity.
This year, National CAPACD launched the Civic Engagement project with a core set of local community-based organizations to mobilize Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders around the country to vote. CAPACD partners are also participating in the Home for Good campaign, a joint effort between National CAPACD and other national organizations to raise awareness and mobilize grassroots community members around housing policy issues.