Advancing the progressive agenda for asian pacific americans in georgia
Anjali Enjeti | Longreads | December 2018
Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) were the fasted growing racial group in the South between 2000 and 2010, and in Georgia the AAPI population has exploded. Since 2000, it has grown by 131% to over 480,000. Historically, though, AAPI voters have had one of the lowest voter turnouts among racial minorities. For the 2016 presidential election, it was around 49% nationwide, below white and Black voters and slightly ahead of Latinx voters. But in Georgia, voter turnout was 52% for that election. Foreign born Asian Americans tend to have a higher voter turnout than U.S. born.
Of far greater importance are the reasons for lower turnout. They may include a general failure to mobilize AAPI voters, the minimal contact political candidates make with AAPI voters, or language barriers. In Georgia, over 40% of limited English proficiency individuals speak an AAPI language. And because they speak dozens of languages, including Tagalog, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese — advocacy groups must find translators for several languages to assist them.
Over the years, especially recently, Atlanta-area Asian American organizations have launched vigorous voter drive programs to increase turnout for elections. The result? Some 6,400 AAPI statewide registered in 2014, and another 6,500 registered in 2016.
Despite these impressive gains in electoral power, the voting rights of all minority voters have been drastically impeded since the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. States, like Georgia, with a history of voter suppression no longer require “preclearance” from federal courts or the Department of Justice to alter voting procedures.
READ MORE: https://longreads.com/2018/12/19/reckoning-with-georgias-increasing-suppression-of-asian-american-voters/