It’s the final countdown! The 80’s song, by the band Europe, is spot-on as we are just weeks away from the General Election. You can bet candidates for local and state races are making that final push to get folks to register to vote.
In California, the process got easier, thanks to on-line voter registration. Launched September 19th, it’s already proven to be a resounding success.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, in the first three weeks, approximately 380,000 people used the online application to register for the first time OR to update their existing voter records.
“I am thrilled to see the high volume of Californians registering to vote or updating their registration using my website,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen. “Of course, this number is one portion of the high volume that elections staff see at this time every election cycle.”
National Voter Registration Day, held September 25th, was another big push as organizations and candidates fanned out across the state to educate and empower individuals to register.
According to data collected by 18 Million Rising—Activating Asian America, the voter registration rate in the state, during that week, doubled the rate of both the week prior and the week after, 225 percent and 215 percent more respectively and exactly. (The numbers only applies to people that registered through the organization or its partners). Of those registered, 88 percent are under the age of 30.
“Here, in California, there’s a real opportunity to take the lead on important issues such as tax reform, funding for education,” said Christina Samala, Director of 18MR.
Latinos and Asian Americans could make a big impact come November. They make up half of California’s population.
“The voice of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community can play a huge role in California taking some incredible steps forward on these issues,” said Samala.
Volunteers with the Asian Pacific Legal Center started manning their phone banks. The goal is reach out to 20,000 AAPI voters in Southern California.
“It’s going very well. We’re reaching out to all age groups but especially the low propensity voters—those who voted once, maybe twice the in past elections. No one ever reaches out to them, we want to make sure they know their voice counts,” said Asian Pacific American Legal Center Voter Engagement Manager Tanzila Ahmed. “We hope we are making a difference.”
“With initiatives like the first ever statewide API voter guide, spearheaded by our friends at Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, I have high hopes that our voices will be louder and more unified than ever during this pivotal election cycle,” said Samala.
In the words of yet another musician, this time Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, also co-chair of Voto Latino, “The voice that we each have can travel very far if you register to vote.”