AAPI Nexus: Voting Volume 2, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2004 Abstracts
Vote to Empower Yourself, Stupid
By: S.B. Woo
Abstract: Asian Americans (AA’s) lacks of political know-how owe itself to two primary reasons: family education and AAs political culture. AAs are mostly immigrants and therefore we are not that knowledgeable about how American politics. The second reason is that AAs lack cultural background in democracy. The article discusses how the founding fathers and writers of the Constitution intend citizens to vote, and approximates AA’s voting power. Vote for your own interest, and hence why we have a government that has multi-legislative bodies. By voting our own interests, America benefits, and relates to ‘The Invisible Hand’ theory. America’s democracy is the driven by the same force as its society, which market-driven. We need to serve politicians in order that they can in turn serve us. We also need to use our political clout to address major problems affecting AA’s such as the glass ceiling issue.
The Local/Global Politics of Boston’s Viet-Vote
By: James Dien Bui, Shirley Suet-ling Tang, and Peter Nien-chu Kiang
Abstract: This article recalls the incident in 1992 where City Councilor Albert ‘Dapper’ O’Neil of Boston made a racist remark towards the Vietnamese community. The incident points out the lack of political clout and education Vietnamese people have due to their poverty and refugee status. If we want to make a difference in the political processes we need to exercise our right to vote. Community-based organizations, Viet-Aid, have also helped Vietnamese population to overcome barriers in their ability to participate in political actions. The 2003 Viet-Vote Campaign goals are to empower the Vietnamese community through civic engagement. The Viet-Vote influence extends that of local politics as it also attempts to represent Vietnamese voice, power, and spotlight on different issues from jobs to bilingual education. The Viet-Vote campaign help increase voter participation in the fall of 2003. The impact of Boston’s Viet-Vote campaign is far-ranging and multifaceted as it help launch the Vietnamese American Community Center and the establishment of community development projects.
Asian Immigrant Settlements in New York City: Defining “Communities of Interest”
By Tarry Hum
Abstract: Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group and transform New York City into a majority ‘minority’ city. The decennial census allows for the political redistricting in accordance with the goal of the fourteenth amendment. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) launch a survey-based study to document New York City’s historic and emergent Asian neighborhoods. AALDEF aims to learn of the Asian immigrant populations whose interests are typically not represented in the political or policy discourses. The survey discusses the survey findings for four neighborhoods with the most concentration of Asians. Their goal was to draw a district boundary that kept Asians in a neighborhood whole to create opportunities in electing a politician who will represent their interests. The article discusses neighborhood boundaries and its subjectivity influenced by various social factors including such as gender and race. The quality of the neighborhoods and its problems, and how being Asian affects that situation.
Getting Out the Vote among Asian Americans in Los Angeles County: Americans in Los Angeles County: The Effects of Phone Canvassing
By: Janelle S. Wong
Abstract: Asian Americans are the fastest growing segment of the population yet have one of the lowest voter turnouts. The article provides some explanation why this is so, and political mobilization is one of the causes given. There is an experimental voter mobilization conducted in high-density Asian American communities in Los Angeles County, calling the treatment group to encourage them to vote. The difference between the control group and the treatment group is explained. The purpose of the experiment is to understand the political behavior of Asian Americans, a group who exhibit a lower voter turnout. The methods employed allow researches to accurately measure the effectiveness of mobilization on voter turnout. Another goal of the article is to figure out strategies to harness limited sources within a community to mobilize Asian Americans to vote. A list of the findings of the study and policy implications is discussed.
Polling AAPI Voters
By: Daniel Kikuo Ichinose
Abstract: Exit polls are surveys of voters once they cast their ballot. However, they are often unreliable sources of information on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters. Several community organizations like the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) in Los Angeles attempts to provide a more accurate exit polling results about AAPI. The methodologies used to conduct the exit poll are noted. To properly conduct polling, it requires tremendous amount of resources such as time, funding, and staff, and is also a very difficult activity to do for a long period of time. Problems outside of the pollsters such as low voter turn out negatively affects the effectiveness of polling. The absentee ballot also renders polling as not wholly accurate since many AAPI due to their voting this way. However polling has plenty of merits as it helps document AAPI voting behavior which can be used for program planning and voting right litigation. Exit poll results are useful in targeting voter education plans. Pollsters are helping depict the emerging AAPI electorate and will also help protect its right to vote.
Ensuring Asian American Access to Democracy in New York City
By: Glenn D. Magpantay
Abstract: Asian Americans face discrimination in some occasions when they exercise their right to vote. AA is the fastest growing minority group and more of them are becoming naturalized citizens. The articles discuss relevant policies in its connection to AA voting. Such policies are The Voting Rights Act and The Language Assistance Provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) employ many methods to collect and document date and details reasons for voting barriers that AA face. The AALDEF uses Election Day monitoring, voter complaint hotline, and multilingual exit poll as its means to gather information needed to understand the barriers and other reasons affecting AA ability to vote. The profile of the voters is discussed as well as the voting place such as how the voting process works in New York City. Many problems and complaints arise in the voting process such as the translation in the bilingual ballots as they are too small to read and were often misleading, and numerous poll sites had inadequate and poor language signage. The article aims to demonstrate several problems present in the voting places, which negatively affects voter turnout. The article tries to reinforce the Voting Rights Act so these problems can be fixed and to improve the administration of the elections. Several recommendations are presented to mitigate these problems to increase voter turnout among the AAPI population. The article highlights the fact that the complexity of the voting process and the gross errors that are not corrected. There should be an alliance between election officials and community groups to facilitate the voting operation process. The struggle for AAPIs right to vote continues as many election procedures do not function in accordance to the law.