Oct 28, 2020 1 min, 27 secs

The AAPI electorate faces myriad challenges to absentee voting, including language barriers, cultural differences and confusing election laws, said Daniel Jeon, a voting rights attorney at the nonprofit Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ).

“When there are additional little hurdles you have to jump over, it makes it hard to want to vote,” Jeon said, adding that minority-language speakers already have trouble understanding policies and identifying candidates on their ballots.

Elsewhere, returned or rejected ballots have discouraged Asian American voters, Jeon said.

“We have seen tremendous involvement this year from the South Asian community in general,” said Anjali Enjeti, the Georgia chapter co-founder of They See Blue, a Democratic national coalition focused on mobilizing the South Asian electorate.

Encouraging absentee voting is also a way to combat the state’s voter suppression tactics, Enjeti said, though it requires “arming members of the community with as many voting resources as possible.”.

The Chicago-based National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum has been following up with AAPI women who requested mail-in ballots in five swing states: Illinois, Arizona, Florida, Indiana and Georgia.

In 2018, nearly 90 percent of Asian women said they believed the stakes were too high to not vote, but a third reported facing barriers when doing so, according to a new survey released by the organization.

In Minnesota, home to the country’s largest Hmong diaspora, the Asian American Organizing Project has been educating younger constituents about absentee voting through youth-centered multimedia campaigns.

Over the next few days, they’ll be phone banking community members to ensure their ballots are submitted or postmarked before Monday

Efforts like these can significantly lower mailing barriers and raise overall turnout from the AAPI electorate, said Christine Chen, executive director at the nonpartisan organization Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote


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