Despite Racial Discrimination, Independent Asian Americans Clinch Democratic Wins in Swing States with 80% of Vote

Friday, Nov 9, 2012

Obama3.JPGPreliminary data from exit polls released by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) reveal that approximately 80% of Asian American voters in the battleground states of Nevada and Virginia voted for President Obama and Democratic candidates.

"As the fastest growing minority group in the country, Asian Americans gave overwhelming support to President Barack Obama at 73% nationwide, exceeding even Latino support of Obama at 71%," said Margaret Fung, AALDEF Executive Director. "In Virginia and Nevada, Asian American voters played a decisive role in the U.S. Senate races. The lesson from our exit polls is that political parties can no longer afford to ignore Asian Americans as a demographic."

AALDEF sent over 800 attorneys, law students, and community volunteers to 14 states to document voter problems on Election Day and to conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll in 13 languages. Full results from the national exit polls are forthcoming.

In Virginia, 71.9% of Asian Americans voted for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine. Notably, a polling place in Annandale, Virginia was the site of one of the most egregious incidents of racial discrimination against Asian American voters, as reported by AALDEF poll monitors.

AALDEF issued a release documenting an incident where a group of elderly Korean Americans at the polls in Annandale were discriminated against by poll workers and asked to stand in a separate line. After those voters presented the proper identification, authorities demanded that they say their names and home addresses out loud in English - which was difficult and embarrassing for those with limited English proficiency.  The poll workers grew frustrated that the seniors didn't understand the instructions, and then ordered all the Korean Americans waiting to vote: "Korean people stand in a separate line." The poll workers began talking to white voters, while the Korean Americans had to wait.

"As Asian Americans sought to have their voices heard in this crucial presidential election, they were treated differently at the polls," said Glenn D. Magpantay, Democracy Program Director at AALDEF.  "We are still struggling for equal access to the ballot. AALDEF is investigating every incident of discrimination and disenfranchisement that we have received."

Asian Americans also gave overwhelming support to President Obama in the battleground state of Nevada. In Las Vegas, AALDEF volunteers, with the collaboration of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Nevada Chapter, surveyed over 335 Asian American voters at several poll sites.

AALDEF's preliminary exit poll data shows that 80.7% of Asian American voters in Nevada voted for Barack Obama. 79.2% voted for the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate (Shelley Berkley) and 79.5% voted for the Democratic nominee in the U.S. House of Representatives (Steven Horsford). 26% of those polled were first-time voters. Of the Asian American voters not registered with any political party, a tremendous 83.9% voted for Barack Obama.

"As our exit polls reveal, Asian American voters in battleground states, many of whom are independent, represent a major political power," said Magpantay.

View online >


Ujala Sehgal
212.966.5932 x.217

Glenn D. Magpantay
212.966.5932 x.206

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.


Feb. 25: DACA renewal and immigration know your rights clinic at Brooklyn Law School


New AALDEF guidance on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)


Remembering AALDEF board member Vivian Cheng-Khanna,1955-2017


2017 AALDEF exit poll: 2,538 Asian American voters polled in 4 states: VA, NJ, NY, MA


Nov. 15-16: AALDEF calls on Asian Americans to mobilize in DC for a clean DREAM Act


Feb. 15, 2018: AALDEF lunar new year gala honoring Preet Bharara, Linda Greenhouse, and Chan Lee


Oct. 1: DACA renewal clinic at Flushing Library


AALDEF denounces ending of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; new DACA fact sheet


Federal appeals court upholds ruling in AALDEF case that Texas election law violates Voting Rights Act


AALDEF denounces introduction of RAISE Act to restrict legal imigration


AALDEF exit poll presentations in Miami, Las Vegas, Atlanta & San Diego


AALDEF statement on the president's voter fraud commission


Screening of new PBS film "Chinese Exclusion Act" and Q&A with Ric Burns and Li-shin Yu on May 23


New AALDEF report: The Asian American Vote in 2016


AALDEF joins amicus brief in State of Hawaii's challenge to revised Trump travel ban


AALDEF condemns Trump Administration's revamped anti-immigrant travel ban


AALDEF joins Korematsu Center amicus brief in challenge to Trump travel ban in Brooklyn federal court