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Thursday June 30, 2016

Opinion: In 2016, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Are Ready To Be Heard

by Christine Chen and Carolyn Dewitt

For too long, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has been rendered invisible and taken for granted. Under-representation and marginalization in social, cultural, and political spheres has become the norm for AAPIs throughout our nation's history.

But in this 2016 election cycle, this powerful community is mobilizing and letting its voices be heard.

While we know that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing populations in the United States, the AAPI community is also one of the fastest growing electorates — the AAPI electorate is on track to double by 2040. Even today, one in four U.S. Congressional districts have populations with more than 5 percent AAPIs, where AAPIs exceed 5 percent of the population in nearly 600 cities and municipalities.

AAPI voters have already reached the threshold to yield significant influence over the outcome of elections across the country.

In Nevada, for example, President Barack Obama won the state by 6.7 percent in 2012. This year, an estimated 9 percent of eligible voters in Nevada will be from the AAPI community. In Virginia, there are an estimated 310,000 eligible AAPI voters, decidedly eclipsing the estimated 149,000 votes that decided the state in 2012.

On June 7, voters will go to the polls for the California presidential and state primaries. Making up more than 14 percent of the state's electorate, AAPIs are crucial to candidates up and down the ballot.

Additionally, the overall millennial generation is the largest and most diverse in our country's history. With millions of AAPIs turning 18, young AAPI voters have the capacity to heavily influence not only election results, but also the issues being considered around the country. According to a Rock the Vote/USA Today poll in March 2016, AAPI millennials ranked the economy, education, healthcare, gun laws/safety, and taxes as the top five most important issues this cycle. With such an influential electorate, young AAPI voters can shape our national priorities in a significant way.

See original article here.

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