By: Stephanie Gray Chang
The election is coming up fast and Asian American oters can be part of the “margin of victory.” Sometimes I hear from people that they think their vote won’t make a difference. I’m here to tell you that every vote counts and that it is critical that Asian American voters lift up our voices on November 6 by going to the ballot box.
Did you know that Asian Americans, out of all racial groups, grew at a faster pace than any other group in Michigan? (34.9%) We need to make sure to match our growing numbers with a growing political voice.
My parents came to the U.S. for better opportunities – for themselves and for their children. Part of the American Dream is educational and financial success, but the most important right of all American citizens is the right to vote.
As one example of how Asian American voters decided an election, does anyone remember the 2006 election in Virginia between Jim Webb and George Allen? George Allen, at a campaign event, called an Indian American man a “macaca” – a racial slur, basically calling him a monkey. The Asian American voters in Virginia saw this was unacceptable, and turned out to vote for his opponent. The strong Asian American vote for Webb led to his victory. There was a 35% margin of victory for Webb for Asian American voters, and this made up a larger number of people than the total margin of victory.
In May 2012, APIAVote National partnered with another group and Lake Research Partners to conduct a national poll of Asian American voters. “An overwhelming majority of Asian Americans surveyed – nearly five out of six – said they will vote this November and half of them are more enthusiastic than ever to vote, a trend that has continued from the last few presidential elections.” This is great news – and you can be a part of this history.
I’d like to make sure everyone is familiar with some of the voting laws in Michigan.
Voting in person:
Remember to bring your photo identification if you have one. The poll worker will ask you to present your photo identification. However, if you do not have it with you, they cannot legally turn you away from voting.
You have a right to vote without being intimidated. If you encounter any problems on Election Day, call 866-OUR-VOTE.
If you are a registered voter, you can request an absentee ballot if you are 60 years or older, unable to vote without assistance at the polls, expecting to be out of town on election day, working the polls as an election inspector in a precinct outside your own precinct. Visit this link to download the absentee ballot request form. You must turn this in by 2pm on the Saturday before Election Day. Then you will receive your absentee voter ballot, and you have until 8 p.m. to fill it out and return it to the clerk’s office.
If you have an opinion about our immigration system, look up the candidates’ stances on immigration issues and get out and vote! If you have an opinion on access to health care, find out how the candidates stand, and vote on November 6! If you care about the future of our economy, find out what the candidates’ economic platforms are and let you know how you feel by voting on November 6!
As the Michigan Secretary of State says on her website, “[v]oting is one of the most cherished and fundamental rights in our country.” If you don’t vote, you will be missing out on one of the most important things you can do as a U.S. citizen.
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