Strong voter turnout from AAPIs in 2017

National Federation of Filipino American Associations, Region 2, pose for a group photo during a voter registration drive. 


Did you watch the Election Day results unfold in cities all over the nation? Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) turned out in high numbers on Tuesday, Nov. 7 for local elections in a year plagued with hateful rhetoric.


The strong turnout of AAPIs in 2017 may forecast a waking electoral giant in the 2018 midterm elections.


In Virginia, Asian American voters outperformed in turnout predictions. Asian American candidates targeted with racist fliers claimed victories in New Jersey: Ravi Bhalla, the first Sikh mayor in New Jersey, was elected while two school board candidates won their races. To learn more, read why hate is not welcome in politics in a Reappropriate blog post by our Executive Director Christine Chen.


We at APIAVote not only engage with new voters but also contact infrequent voters to transform voting into a habit for every election.



Leading up to Election Day, APIAVote centered voter turnout efforts in the gubernatorial and local elections in Virginia and New Jersey, in which AAPIs make up 5 percent and 7 percent of the states' electorate, respectively. We targeted voters in Fairfax County and Fairfax City in Virginia and in New Jersey we targeted Bergen, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset counties. Through our two-piece mail program, which featured a social pressure GOTV postcard, we reached about 17,000 households. We also made 40,000 attempts to contact voters on the phone about making their plan to vote.


Our partners in states like New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Virginia put their boots on the ground to register voters, educate and remind them to vote in local elections. See below for a collection of photos capturing their enthusiastic spirit to promote full participation in our democracy.


Utah: National Tongan American Society


Texas: Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs


New Mexico: New Mexico Family Asian Center