For Immediate Release: June 19, 2017
5 Key Points About AAPI Voters in GA-06 Election and Beyond
Washington, DC – The AAPI Victory Fund, the first super PAC dedicated to mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, issued the following statement today in advance of Tuesday’s runoff election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district.
According to Shekar Narasimhan, Chairman and Founder of the AAPI Victory Fund, “In this age of Trump, many AAPI voters feel that engaging politically and exercising their right to vote goes beyond civic duty to encompass what type of America we want to leave to our children. As progressives seek a path back to power, AAPI voters must be an essential part of the strategy. Tomorrow’s runoff in Georgia may provide an engagement roadmap for other races across the country and reaffirm the pivotal role AAPI voters have the potential to play.”
Below are five key points about AAPI voters relevant to Tuesday’s runoff in GA-06 and beyond:
1. AAPI voters are engaged in the GA-06 race. Ahead of the June 20th runoff in GA-06, early vote indications are that AAPI voters are over-performing. Politico highlighted new research from Democratic analytics firm TargetSmart that showed that, among early voters in the GA-06 runoff, Asian-Americans showed “the largest increase in share.” This follows on the heels of the April special election in GA-06, during which AAPI voters’ turnout rates were higher than African-American or Latino voters in the district. The AAPI Victory Fund has held a series of informational events, rallies and run paid advertising in area newspapers with heavy AAPI readership to educate AAPIs about the importance of the GA-06 elections and to mobilize the community. In Georgia’s 6th congressional district, AAPI voters comprise approximately 6 percent of the district’s registered voters.
2. Increased AAPI voter engagement in GA-06 is consistent with the community’s 2016 performance across the country. In 2016, more than 1.1 million new AAPI voters turned out to vote across the country compared to 2012. According to AAPI Victory Fund’s analysis of voter files, we saw significant AAPI voter turnout increases between the 2012 and 2016 elections in such locations as: Colorado (19.3%); Florida (27.6%); Georgia (50.6%); Nevada (14.8%); North Carolina (24.5%); Ohio (15.4%); Pennsylvania (28.7%); and Texas (42.1%).
3. AAPIs are engaged politically, but need a sustained investment in order to maximize turnout and impact. Despite being the fastest growing demographic group in America, fewer than half of eligible AAPI voters (49.3%) turned out to vote in 2016, per the U.S. Census Bureau, Voting and Registration Supplement to the Current Population Survey. Candidates and campaigns must put more emphasis and resources towards mobilizing and engaging AAPI voters. According to the National Asian American Survey, only 29 percent of Asian Americans reported that a political party directly contacted them during the 2016 campaign cycle, much lower than the 44 percent of white Americans who reported direct contact from a party.
4. Mobilizing AAPI voters may represent the biggest return on political investment for progressives and Democrats. According to an exit poll by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), AAPI voters backed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 4:1 margin, 79 percent to 18 percent. Our emerging voting bloc continues to be one of the best political returns on investment in elections for progressives.
5. Beyond GA-06, AAPI voters will need to be part of the Democratic path to victory in key races across the country. The AAPI Victory Fund is undergoing a mapping exercise to determine other locations, such as GA-06, where investing in AAPI voters can make a big difference. For example, AAPI voters make up 7% of the voting population in Virginia and can make up the margin of victory in a series of upcoming 2017 elections in the state. Looking toward the 2018 midterms, AAPI voters will be critical in such likely battleground states as CA, FL, NC, NV, and VA.
In these races and elsewhere, AAPI engagement and turnout can mean the difference between electing progressive candidates who will push back against President Trump’s regressive policies — or losing. As AAPI Victory Fund President Varun Nikore stated in recent op-ed in Morning Consult, “Resistance begins at the ballot box — and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have too much at stake to stay silent.”
Learn more about the AAPI Victory Fund at http://aapivictoryfund.com/