Election Day is in four weeks and InterIm CDA with partner organizations have been leading ongoing efforts to register and inform Asian Pacific Islander populations in voting through the services of their programs and reaching out to limited English speaking communities within King County.
If mobilized to vote, API Americans have the potential to make a significant difference in the outcome of elections across the country, as the country’s fastest growing racial minority group. There are over 411,000 eligible API American voters in Washington State, comprising 7.8 percent of the state’s electorate. From 2000 to 2010, the number of eligible API American voters grew by 43 percent, compared to a 14 percent growth rate state-wide. In King County, Asian and Pacific Islanders comprise 16 percent of the county, with 322,260 residents.
“InterIm CDA is working to make voting more accessible to the API community not just this election season, but also in the long term,” said Kay Nelson, Civic Engagement Project Assistant. Throughout 2015, Nelson has been working with organizations such as The Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, Asian Counseling Referral Service, International Community Health Services, and APACE to hold ballot parties, candidate forums, and table at community events to reach future API voters. Their events have had interpretation services available in Vietnamese, Korean, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
There are a number of important events and dates to be aware of in the next five weeks:
• On October 9 and 19, InterIm CDA and community partners will host viewing parties for the presidential debates at the Bush Asia Center Legacy Hall. Live interpretation will be available in Mandarin and Cantonese.
• The deadline to mail voter registration forms is October 10. Registration can be completed online or printed from the King County Elections website. The deadline to register in person at the Renton or Downtown Seattle King County Elections office is October 31.
• InterIm CDA and community partners will host the annual API Candidate Forum on Thursday, October 13, 5:00 p.m. at ACRS. Candidates from various races will attend to talk about their positions on issues that impact the API population and communities.
With a long history of working with residents in the International District through their Housing Services Program and advocating for community sustainability, InterIm CDA is well poised to provide voter education services in the neighborhood as well as collaborate with organizational partners and communities outside the Chinatown-International District. This work has been made possible by a grant from Seattle Foundation and King County Elections.