FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2020 

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New Report: AAPI Voters Are a Powerful Bloc at the Polls, But Current Barriers Make it Hard for Them to Cast Ballots 

LOS ANGELES—Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are among the fastest growing voting blocs in the U.S., but current barriers pose problems for many when it comes to casting ballots, according to a new brief released today by the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund. 

This electorate—numbering more than 22.1 million voters—has reached a critical mass in Hawaii (38% of registered voters), California statewide (13% of registered voters), as well as in key congressional districts in Hawaii, California, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington state, and Virginia, according to the brief. 

This voting bloc deserves attention from candidates and decision-makers, but exercising the right to vote remains problematic for many AAPI voters, and other voters of color, said EunSook Lee, Director of the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund. 

“AAPI voters who live in states with restrictive voting rules or who are limited English proficient and not offered voter information in their native language are often reluctant to vote,” Lee said. “And in the context of the global pandemic, voters have legitimate concerns for their health. Voting by mail must be made available and easy to understand for this voting bloc.” 

The brief states that more organizing and funding is needed to help AAPI communities expand their voting power, such as increasing voter registration and turnout rates, helping AAPI candidates run for office, and working to change voting laws. 

The brief also shows that AAPIs are united in their perspectives toward issues, including:

  • 90% agreed that women and men should be paid the same wages for the same work.
  • 76% agreed that Congress should pass the DREAM Act. 
  • 79% agreed that Congress should enact stricter gun laws. 
  • 79% agreed that racial profiling is a form of harassment and should not be allowed. 

Looking at presidential elections between 2008 and 2016, AAPI voters’ preference for the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate reached 71% in 2016, trending up steadily since 2008.

AAPIs comprise just over 4% of the nation’s registered voters but are among the fastest growing racial groups in America. Voter registration of Asian Americans increased 51 percent between 2008 and 2016, compared to just 8 percent nationally, according to the brief. 

Read the brief here: https://aapifund.org/report/bloc-vote  

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About the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund 

The AAPI Civic Engagement Fund was established in 2014 with the mission to foster a culture of civic participation within AAPI communities by supporting the growth of AAPI groups as organizational-movement and power-building leaders that achieve specific policy, systems, and transformational change. It holds the vision that AAPIs must be an integral part of strengthening America’s democracy, in advocating for improving the quality of life for all, and in creating vibrant multiracial communities. www.aapifund.org. On Twitter: @AAPIFund.