Asian American Communities in California get help before heading to the polls

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

This is big. This is the first and largest project of its kind. And Asian American communities will benefit. 

Twenty two national Asian Pacific Islander American organizations have joined forces to create the first comprehensive overview on nine critical California ballot measures.

“By joining forces with Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), 18 Million Rising (18MR) and other organizations, we were able to expand our base by hundreds of thousands,” said Rebecca Apostol of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote Action Fund. “By putting together our mailing lists with other organization’s mailing lists, we are able to reach a lot more people.”

There are six different voter guides: English, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Lao, and Korean.

To date, nearly 85,000 were printed and almost 74,000 were mailed out.

The groups targeted California because the API communities “are the fast growing population.” 

It only makes sense considering, “a large amount of immigrants that we have here in California are immigrant families. To give you an idea, in 2007 or 2008, a statistic came out that stated 85 percent of immigrant children, born in California, are now eligible to vote in 2012,” Apostol said.

The voter guide breaks down the measures and its impact on those communities.

“We felt that these were the propositions that were most critical to our communities. When it comes down to it, most of our folks aren’t really spoken to during election time. These aren’t high propensity voters, so they’re not talked to by your typical campaign. More often than not, when we’re talking to our folks, we’re some of the only voting election communication and education that they get through the election season,” said Apostol.

“Voters need a reason to go to the polls,” said Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, Assistant Director, UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center. She added, “This voter guide will be instrumental in empowering Asian Americans, especially immigrants, to talk about the ballot measures under consideration and encouraging them to turnout because they can have a direct impact on these issues simply by voting.”

In California, Asian Americans make up 10 percent of the registered voters. A recent survey by U.C. Berkley and U.C. Riverside shows that one in three Asian American voters are still undecided—that’s 30 percent.

“Language communication is really the best way to talk to our folks, especially when it comes to things like politics because government can be a little bit difficult to understand,” Apostol said. “It’s really important, to us, to reach out to people in the language they’re most comfortable communicating in. With the immigrant voice mobilized in California, we can really begin to shape California politics.” 

To download a guide, in any of the mentioned languages, click here.


Cheryl Getuiza

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