In today’s premiere of So Jannelle’s new segment called “So Engaged”, we are joined by Christine Chen, Executive Director and Founder of Asian and Pacific Islander Vote #apiavote as we discuss how to prepare for the upcoming US presidential election.
Christine introduces APIA Vote as a national non-partisan and non-profit organization that works with other non-profits in 20+ states to build their capacity to increase voter and civic participation in the community. According to her, it was in 1996 when APIA Vote started as a project of the organization of Chinese Americans; and from then, APIA Vote became a standalone organization in 2007 and they they have increased their partners in over 28 states.
Christine says the group mainly talks about the voting process and empowers members by ensuring they register to vote. The goal of APIA Vote is to motivate and educate non-profit organization leaders on their right to do this type of work.
Christine notes her enthusiasm towards the abundance of activists who are fighting for important issues such as human rights and racial equity. She shares data from the 2018 elections, where there was a 49% increase in AAPI voting in comparison to other elections in previous years. Furthermore, she shares that the participation rate of younger voters ages 18-34 have doubled. She explains some of these changes can be attributed to the pandemic as more and more people are paying attention to the policies that are being implemented to fix certain issues.
For the 2020 elections, Christine shares data that AAPIs make up 5% of the nation’s eligible voters, which is around 11 million Asians with numbers growing. She adds that “slowly but surely, AAPIs are being recognized as an important electorate group in Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona and Michigan.”
Christine also talks about their partnership with AARP as one of the biggest non-profits that has partnered up with APIA Vote.
Christine says AARP has helped APIA Vote by expanding their mailing program. According to her, AAPIA Vote’s local partners have been able to mail 700,000 households in over 20 states. This includes state pacific translated mail that go to voters directly to ensure that they understand the voting process, the options available for early voting, language assistance and hotlines. In addition, AARP also helped them with their 2020 Asian American Voter Survey to keep updated with information on Asian American electorates.
In the survey, Jannelle notes that Filipinos are notably at the top of being the most enthusiastic voters, among AAPI groups. Christine adds that 48% of which have noted that they plan on voting by mail, so it is APIA Vote’s responsibility to ensure that they are equipped with correct information about the process and deadlines.
This #voterengagement segment series is also made possible through our collaboration with AARP.
For more information about the voting process, Christine invites viewers to visit APIA Vote’s website. The website has extensive information on important deadlines and instructions. It is also important to check your voter registration as a number of states are currently purging their lists. Individuals will need to be taking through their voting plans; 1. Are you voting early or voting on election day? 2. If you are voting early, will it by mail or in person? Your answers to these questions will help determine the correct process that you will need to follow as a voter. As individuals it would also help if you can figure out whether you have contacts that may need some assistance as well.
For the majority of states, registration deadlines are coming up in the next 2 weeks. There are only 19 states that allow same day registration. Go to www.apiavote.org/register to be able to get it done within a few minutes.
To be able to vote by mail you will need to: 1. Apply and complete the application request or a mail in ballot. 2. Read the instructions very carefully when you receive your ballot. 3. Decide how you will submit your completed ballot (via mail, polling location or drop boxes) before election day.
Christine wants us to remember to “take action” by registering to vote or by reaching out to friends and family to ensure they are vote-ready.