2016. Challenge Accepted.

2016 is, on all accounts, a huge election year. In a few months, the United States will be electing its next Commander-in-Chief. Equally as important, we are deciding who takes the other seats down the ballot, from Congress to school board. These state and local offices will be just as game changing to the future of our democracy. This presents an opportunity for young Asian Americans to have a say in who should represent us and the policies they promote.

Asian Americans are the fastest growing group in the United States.

Currently, young US born AAPIs constitute the majority of this voting bloc (1) . We have the potential to be a powerful voting bloc; however, voter registration and turnout in our group is historically low.

It’s not because of voter enthusiasm. In fact, voter enthusiasm among Asian American young adults was found to be higher than those in other age groups (2).

The main reason? Political campaigns don’t court the young Asian American electorate as deeply as other groups.

Campaigns factor in demographic information for groups, like voting history, age, and income, to determine whether or not they should invest their resources to target those groups (3).

So, they largely overlook young AAPIs because they don’t fit the criteria of “high propensity voters.” Many Asian American millennials are registering for the first time. They live in communities with a low turnout history and some are just starting out their careers. They need repeated contact and resources to turn voting into a habit. Historically, campaigns have missed out on cultivating the power of this diverse and rapidly growing electorate.

This is where we come in.

One day, a group of young Asian American change makers, hailing from all parts of the country, working in various types of industries, came together to break this cycle. They believe that no other group is in a better position to expand the Asian American millennial electorate than, well, Asian American millennials themselves.

Asian American millennials should not be defined by a score. Seizing our power as voters can influence election outcomes in all corners of the country.

We are Asian American Millennials Unite, a platform that harnesses the power of the Asian American millennial vote. This is a space where we talk about the variety of ways our communities and experiences form our civic identities, celebrate the civic leaders and stories we don’t talk about nearly enough, and share the resources and information we need to prepare for our trip to the voting booth.

We are ready to amplify our voices to build a democracy that truly reflects our values and concerns.

Citations:

  1. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/number-of-asian-american-voters-projected-to-double-by-2040
  2. http://www.apiavote.org/sites/default/files/asianam-youthvote-oct23.pdf
  3. http://www.nonprofitvote.org/documents/2015/12/engaging-new-voters.pdf
  4. https://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/sites/default/files/ssn_key_findings_michelson_on_increasing_voter-turnout_in_low-propensity_communities.pdf