LOS ANGELES (Nov. 6, 2014) — Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) announced the successful completion of the 2014 Your Vote Matters campaign, which was a partnership among 15 community-based organizations and three youth groups to encourage Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) voters to participate in the November 4, 2014 general election.
Using over 230 bilingual volunteers, the campaign called nearly 40,000 Asian American and NHPI voters in Southern California during the three-and-a-half weeks leading up to November 4. The calls were conducted in an unprecedented 17 languages: Arabic, Bangla, Burmese, Cantonese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Punjabi, Samoan, Tagalog, Thai, Tongan, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
“Even though we called infrequent voters, we found that by engaging voters in conversations that were with people of their culture and conducted in their language, they were more likely to demonstrate an interest in voting,” says Tanzila Ahmed, voter engagement manager at Advancing Justice-LA. “In fact, in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties, 66 percent of voters said they were going to vote and 4 percent said they had already voted.”
As part of the phone calling, volunteers asked voters to support public education and opportunity for all. Among voters successfully contacted, 80% of voters in Los Angeles County and 92 percent of voters in Orange County indicated their support of educational opportunity.
Advancing Justice – LA also worked with the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) to protect the rights of voters on Election Day. Advancing Justice – LA and OCAPICA deployed volunteer monitors to 76 election precincts in Los Angeles and Orange Counties to ensure fair treatment of voters and full access to language assistance under federal and state law. Many polling locations operated without incident, but in Los Angeles County, monitors spotted a number of poll sites with bilingual poll worker no-shows and missing translated materials. In Orange County, a handful of poll sites experienced problems with voting machines.
Advancing Justice – LA expresses its appreciation for the opportunity to partner with the other 14 community organizations participating in the campaign. “Your Vote Matters! 2014” community partners include: API Equality-LA, Asian Youth Center, Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, Japanese American Citizens League, Khmer Girls in Action, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Pilipino Workers Center, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, South Asian Network, and Thai Community Development Center.
In partnership with researchers, Advancing Justice – LA will examine the impact of bilingual phone calls and other voter engagement efforts on the turnout of infrequent Asian American and NHPI voters. This will inform Advancing Justice – LA’s voter engagement activities going forward, including future iterations of the Your Vote Matters campaign.
The Your Vote Matters 2014 campaign is a project of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles with the purpose of empowering, mobilizing, and protecting the rights of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Voters. Advancing Justice – LA is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan organization that does not advocate on behalf of parties or candidates.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.