September 23, 2019

Local Organizations Help Kick Off National Voter Registration Day and Urge Asian Communities to be Civically Engaged

Flushing, NY —Asian American organizations hosted a press conference at the MinKwon Center for Community Action for National Voter Registration Day. The event was organized by Asian Pacific Americans Voting & Organizing to Increase Civic Engagement (APA VOICE), a non-partisan collaboration of 19 organizations seeking to increase civic engagement in the Asian American community. APA VOICE organizations were joined by New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim and other local leaders and registered voters to discuss the importance of elections and voting.


MinKwon and members of APA VOICE reminded the Asian American community to vote in the upcoming general election on November 5, 2019, and gave details on New York’s first rollout of early voting nine days before the election from October 26 to November 3, in accordance to the new state bill passed and signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on January 24. They stated their support for the New York City measure on ranked-choice voting and City Council redistricting and vacancy timelines on this year’s ballot, and encouraged Asian Americans to register to vote and confirm their party affiliation by October 11 to be eligible to vote in the upcoming general election and the New York Democratic or Republican presidential primary elections, both happening April 28, 2020. New York is a closed primary system, which means that voters must be registered Democrat or Republican in order to vote in the respective presidential primaries.


“As the fastest growing population at the federal, state, and city level, we have the numbers to change election outcomes. We have elections and ballot measures this November that could transform our voting process, special elections in early 2020, and we are leading up to the most important presidential election in my lifetime. It is critical that Asian Americans, immigrants, and other marginalized communities register to vote and exercise their power,” said John Park, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center.


“Voting is both our right and our civic duty as Americans. I have been alarmed by recent data showing more and more people are staying home instead of participating in this cornerstone of our democracy, said Assembly Member Ron Kim. “Now more than ever, when so many of our rights that we have taken for granted seem to be threatened, it is important that we exercise our fundamental right to choose the people who represent us in government. I thank the MinKwon Center for working with our local community partners to bring greater awareness to this issue and helping to register more and more people to vote.”


"CPC is proud to stand with APA VOICE in advance of National Voter Registration Day. Here in New York State, one in four voters is a naturalized immigrant and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters make up one of every three immigrant voters nationally," said Amy Torres, Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). "However, language access, complex election laws, and low engagement from candidates prevents AAPIs from realizing their full political power, which is why our work with APA VOICE is so important. Bringing communities together to register, engage, and empower voters is what National Voter Registration Day is all about, and we look forward to continuing to work with our coalition partners to advance the rights of our communities."


"The Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) is pleased to join with APA VOICE in promoting National Voter Registration Day. This Tuesday, CPA will be registering voters at our local YMCA in the Lower East Side. The ballot initiatives that voters will be voting on this November propose changes that will have a tremendous impact on how government works for us. So, in addition to registering new voters, we will be making voters in Chinatown and the Lower East Side aware of these proposals to appear on the ballot in November," said Mae Lee, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association.

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