Despite comprising of 15% of New York City's population, only 6.9% of the Asian-American community votes. In 2015, MinKwon will lead the APA VOICE (Voting and Organizing for Increased Civic Engagement) – a twelve-member collaborative dedicated to demonstrating both the power and needs of the Asian-American immigrant population through voter turnout and education. Since 2004, MinKwon has registered over 60,000 people to vote and continues to empower Korean-American, Asian-American, and immigrant voters through a non-partisan, comprehensive set of efforts—voter registration, education, mobilization, protection, assistance, and research.
MinKwon's Civic Participation program counters community disenfranchisement by engaging a diverse base of new citizens through a comprehensive model that includes voter registration, research, education, mobilization, assistance, and protection efforts.
Intensive registration efforts increase the base of Korean, Asian, and immigrant community members that are eligible to vote. In 2013, MinKwon registered over 2,500 new voters and provided voter registration technical assistance to nine Asian Pacific American organizations on voter registration as well as “best practices” in voter engagement. Since 2004, MinKwon registered 60,000 new immigrant voters.
In 2004, MinKwon created the first-ever database of Korean American voters in New York City, compiling a list of over 28,000 voters. This database is a powerful tool for mobilization and education efforts.
MinKwon's voter analysis now includes more ethnicities and more metrics to assess the growing presence of Asian American voters, as well as turnout in elections. MinKwon also conducts in-person surveys of voters on local issues and periodically provide analysis to ethnic and mainstream media on New York City's Asian American electorate.
MinKwon organizes educational forums to inform community members about the civic engagement process and provides avenues for them to address their issues of concern to elected officials and candidates through nonpartisan candidate forums.
MinKwon uses op-eds in the ethnic press, e-mail blasts, and a robust social media presence to keep the Asian American community informed about voter engagement issues. MinKwon also provides in-depth information to coalition partners on larger civic engagement topics such as the Voting Rights Amendment Act and lobbying regulation changes.
As the first Asian American organization to engage in large-scale phone banking and door knocking in New York City, MinKwon maintains access to Catalist/VAN databases in order to analyze and target low-propensity voters in get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts.
MinKwon also provides technical assistance and coordination to the coalition of Asian American groups doing GOTV in their respective communities. Through these non-partisan, large-scale mobilization and organizing efforts, MinKwon reached nearly 3,000 voters in 2013 by “door-knocking” and “phone-banking” efforts targeting Asian American voters.
MinKwon also created and distributed over 1,100 pieces of educational literature which were translated into Korean and Chinese. These pieces were used during a street outreach and neighborhood canvassing efforts.
MinKwon runs the Korean-Language Voter Hotline in New York City to assist voters on important election information, such as helping voters identify poll sites and obtain the status of their registrations. MinKwon also creates and distributes culturally and language competent voter publications for LEP persons.
In response to requests from the Board of Election's's Language Assistance Program, which had seen consistent shortages of Korean language interpreters, MinKwon makes concerted efforts to promote these openings via media and our website, and sent several bilingual staff to fill these roles.
MinKwon coordinates with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund to engage Asian American voters in exit poll surveys in New York and New Jersey to track and ensure the protection of voters' rights.