APIAVote Organizational Update

Release Date: 
September 18, 2009

Naomi Tacuyan / 202-223-9170



A Letter from Daphne Kwok, Chair of APIAVote Board of Directors



APIAVote Announces New Board Members & Recommitment to AAPI Civic Engagement



On behalf of the board and staff of APIAVote, I thank you for your continued support of APIAVote and our mission of increasing civic engagement in our AAPI communities.


APIAVote has come off an unprecedented election cycle! In 2008, after our historic Presidential Town Hall, at which we garnered participation from all three presidential candidates, APIAVote also participated in the DNC & RNC Conventions, celebrating political participation, and holding educational briefings about the AAPI vote. Through our coalitions and partners, we mobilized voters in 14 states-- many of them highly contested states-- (HI, CA, OR, WA, NV, MN, MI, IL, NY, VA, PA, LA, OH, FL) for increased voter education and turnout contributing to AAPI votes making up 12 percent of the total increase of voters from 2004 to 2008. What a whirlwind year!



The AAPI Impact on 2008




Indeed, APIAVote's work alongside coalitions and community organizations and national partners showed our electoral strength and signals our growth and potential. Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released data that showed the following:


  • Approximately 3.6 million Asian American voted in the 2008 elections, an increase of roughly 600,000 or 21 percent from the 2.9 million Asian Americans who voted in 2004.
  • These 600,000 Asian American voters made up a substantial 12 percent of the nation's total voter increase of 5 million voters.
  • Asian American voter turnout increased by 4 percentage points, increasing from 45 percent in 2004 to 49 percent in 2008. This is significant in that the overall turnout rate of the nation did not increase, while non-Hispanic white turnout actually decreased by 1 percentage point.


However, while our turnout rate has increased, our turnout rate at 49 percent is still lower than the turnout of non-Hispanic whites (66 percent) and African Americans (65 percent), indicating the need to further increase the intensity and reach of AAPI voter education & mobilization.



Renewed Commitment & Goals


We have been able to take a breath after 2008,  and now look toward 2010 (an important midterm election year) and 2012 (another presidential just around the corner!). We know that we have to double our civic engagement efforts and sharpen our voter mobilization strategies. Thus, we continue to build upon the following goals:


  • Network building: We will continue to serve as a conduit and convener between AAPI communities and mainstream political and civic engagement organizations, connecting our under-resourced communities with access to new and existing resources and tools and to the leadership and work of others in the civic engagement realm.
  • Capacity building: Through the Norman Y. Mineta Leadership Institute's training and technical assistance, we will continue to support and build the capacity of APIAVote coalitions and CBOs nationwide.
  • Outreach & Education / Communications: We will continue to serve as, 1) a voice that uplifts the power and potential of the AAPI vote in mainstream & progressive media circles, using data and research; and 2) a resource upon which our organizations and coalitions can draw to improve media and technology strategies to better complement their civic engagement work.


With that said, we dedicate the rest of 2009 and the whole of 2010 programming to the following: strategic planning & convening for the 2010 midterm election, strategic planning & training for the 2012 presidential elections, educational briefings on the impact of the Census 2010 on AAPI communities, an NYMLI Educational Series highlighting progressive leaders & high-level Obama Administration appointees, and of course, through NYMLI, work with coalitions and partners to expand their knowledge base, increase their electoral skill sets and capacities, and help foster leadership from our ranks.



Board & Staff Developments


We are also excited to update you with recent developments in our organizational transition. As you may know, former chair and former Executive Director Vida Benavides stepped off in May 2009 after completing her 2008 interim role. At this time, we remain staffed by two talented individuals, Naomi Tacuyan Underwood and Alvina Yeh.


We recently elected new board members and officers to APIAVote's board of directors bringing energy, skills, talents, and resources to the AAPI civic engagement table. I have been elected to serve as chair, which I willingly accepted after having seen APIAVote grow from Day 1. Joining me as officers are Bouapha Toommaly,  a former APIAVote staff member as Vice Chair; Janelle Hu, APIAVote's first national coordinator as Secretary; and Steve Takemura as Treasurer. The other board members are Bill KanekoTina Lee, and one of APIAVote's founders Gloria Caoile. We have recommitted to the goals and programming that befit APIAVote's political trajectory.



We are proud to have worked with you to make our programs possible, and we look forward to the opportunities to work together again. We will be sure to keep you updated, as we continue this shared journey toward full civic participation for our AAPI communities.



APIAVote Board Chair