arirang news

Minority civic organizations encouraging Asian Americans to vote in 2016 election Updated: 2016-07-18 03:59:03 KST

A group of Korean American students are approaching shoppers in Fort Lee, New Jersey, aiming to help them with voter registration.
They are summer interns at a civic organization, called Korea American Civic Empowerment.

"We just realized how not much of an impact our Korean Americans had in the American politics, so we wanted to take an opportunity through our activity such as voters' registration and letting the Korean American community know about the U.S. politics and how we can get more involved."

Founded in New York in 1996, the organization has helped around 35-thousand Korean Americans register to vote.
As they believe voting is the most effective way to make the community's voice heard, raising voter turnout is their main goal.

"We wanna significantly boost the voter turnout rate of Korean American voters across the country."

Since 2014, the group has been holding an annual three-day conference in Washington to reach more Korean Americans.

"Every year, some 500 Korean Americans from about 20 states, they join the conference and they discuss how we can improve our civic engagement."

There are about 100 Asian American civic organizations in the U.S., aiming to protect the civil rights of Asian ethnic minorities.
Headquartered in New York, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is one of those organizations, an official says one of their most successful programs is their own Asian American exit poll.

"We started this in 1988 to report at the national media what the Asian American electorate looks like, how they're voting, what issues are important to them, so hopefully we can be included in the conversation, and elect the officials who start paying attention to our community, and hopefully that translates into our community receiving the assistance and the attention that it deserves."

(Stand-up ed:Conn-young)
"Studies have shown that high minority voter turnout played a huge role in President Obama's win in the last two elections. That coupled with forecasts that the 2016 electorate will be the most diverse in U.S. history, these minority groups' proactive civic and voting engagement campaign could also become a big part in who takes the White House come November.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News, Washington."
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