New survey finds midterm elections critical to Asian American, Pacific Islander voters

Akilah Davis Image
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Asian Americans gearing up to vote
New survey finds midterm elections critical to Asian American voters

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The values of voting were instilled in Durham resident Jimmy Patel-Nguyen at a young age. That's why he's always voted and midterms are no exception. An important issue to him is paying less for prescription drugs.

"People in my family have medical conditions that end up costing us. We have to really think about how this affects our budget," he said. "My parents were refugees from Vietnam. It wasn't always easy to cast their vote for the government they were looking for."

In just one week, North Carolina voters will take their voices to the polls.

According to a survey released by North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) and the U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there are an estimated 216,000 Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters across the state.

Important issues to this community include climate change, healthcare access, public safety issues including hate crimes against people of color, gun control, and having a county sheriff that understands their issues. Almost half of those surveyed say they want to see more Asian American and Pacific Islander history taught in public schools. While 83% said they plan to vote during midterm elections. only 39% said they've been contacted by a political party.

"What the parties are signifying to voters by not contacting them is, we don't really care about your vote," said North Carolina Asian Americans Together Executive Director Chavi Khanna Koneru.

She expects high voter turnout from the Asian American community for midterms as the organization works to ensure voter turnout. AAPIs are the fastest-growing demographic in the state that has consistently increased turnout over the years, Koneru said.

"This midterm election is so critical for the Asian American community because the Supreme Court is on the ballot. The U.S. Senate is on the ballot. Important legislative seats are on the ballot, too. It could determine the future of North Carolina," she said.

NCAAT has established an election protection hotline that is running now through Election Day. It is available in more than 20 languages and can be reached at (919) 591-2442.

"It's really important candidates understand the nuance in the Asian American community and not look at us as a monolith," said Patel-Nguyen.