AAPI Rural Voters in Georgia Key to Senate Runoffs
After this November’s election, Democrats around the country breathed a collective sigh of relief. Joe Biden won in the “Blue Wall” states as well as in previously red states like Arizona and Georgia. In the subsequent weeks, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) were highlighted in major national publications as an underrated and often discounted electorate that has an incredible potential to decide elections. AAPI groups, including the AAPI Victory Fund, have been saying this for years, but for now, the country is coming to terms with the magnitude of this still emerging voting bloc.
As evidence of this, from 2016 and 2020 AAPI turnout in Georgia spiked by 91 percent. At more than 250,000 strong AAPIs are nearly 5 percent of Georgia’s electorate. The organizing efforts of groups like the AAPI Victory Fund, the Asian American Advocacy Fund, and the New Georgia Project, electrified AAPI voters from Atlanta to Savannah, from the suburbs to rural areas, on and before November 3rd.
While much of the country’s focus will be on Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs, it is just as critical to focus on rural Georgia. Upon closer inspection of current datasets, there are at least 55,000 AAPI Democrats in Georgia’s less-dense rural areas, twice as many as originally thought. This was largely due to the discovery that data concerning AAPI sub-ethnicities are often incomplete, and supplemental analysis is often required. In particular, data for specific Indian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino and Japanese voters are misidentified in state voters files as other ethnicities or listed as “unknown” or “other.” Making matters more complicated, according to APIA Vote, 80 percent of Asian Americans in Georgia speak a language other than English at home and turnout is 9 percent lower among Limited English Proficiency registered voters. Having accurate data will make contact with voters in their primary language much more likely.
At least 15,000 rural AAPI voters came out to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, far more than the 12,000 votes Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the state by. The AAPI Victory Fund is focusing on these voters, plus those who did not turn out on November 3rd.
On January 5th, 2021, as Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock face off against Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, we believe that these rural AAPI voters will be key to winning both of these seats to take control of the Senate, unlocking a Biden-Harris legislative agenda. We have the opportunity to reassert our values as a nation of immigrants driven by the promise of equality and prosperity.
So consider this is your call to arms — text this article to your friends in Georgia, and make sure they vote. Donate whatever you can to the AAPI Victory Fund. And if you are an AAPI voter in Georgia, remember: January 5th is just as critical an election as November 3rd was. Get five of your Georgia friends to commit to vote, and get them to do the same — vote Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on January 5th.