October 12, 2012; Source: Asian Journal

Several analysts have noted that the political participation of Asian Americans in Nevada, North Carolina and other key battleground states that have seen dramatic increases in their Asian populations may well be pivotal this election cycle. Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) President and Executive Director Stewart Kwoh points out, in a report on Asian American voting in the 2008 general election in California’s Los Angeles County, that Asian Americans are “often overlooked in deliberations over swing states and swing votes. Yet the face of America is changing in part because of us…Challenging that invisibility requires us to change. It requires us to become more politically engaged.” Kwoh, whose stint as board chair for The California Endowment made him one of the first Asian Americans to be board chair of a large U.S. foundation, hopes to see more “voter engagement efforts to strategically target those least engaged in our communities, moving them toward becoming more active participants in the political process.”

Among those rallying Asian Americans to flex their political muscle next month is KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress, which recently released a get-out-the-vote PSA. The spot, featuring Filipino American celebrities, encourages voter registration and awareness in the Filipino-American community, the second largest Asian group in the U.S. You can see it here:

“We need to make sure that our rapid population growth translates into increased electoral participation,” KAYA National Co-Chair Genevieve Jopanda told the Asian Journal. “Voter registration and voter turnout is the only way to ensure that the right leaders who make decisions about our livelihood, safety, and the future of our community get elected into office.”

As Asian Americans find their collective voice, both political parties ought to take heed. The Asian vote may be the small margin that wins the race. – Erwin de Leon