Pan Asian Voter Empowerment Coalition Turns Out Over 300 Voters
Chicago-The Pan Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition joined together to turn out over 300 voters on March 8 for an early voting day in the Illinois Primary. The strong turnout reflects the nascent potential of the Asian American vote. In 2010, the margin of victory in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary was 193 votes. “Our coordinated get out the vote effort in this Primary season is a great indicator of how much our community can influence an election,” noted Advancing Justice-Chicago campaign manager Reema Ahmad. “As someone who has run a campaign, and seen how small the margin of victory can be in a tight race, I’m really encouraged by how strong our turnout is. We have the power to make change happen,” said Chin Keomuongchanh, former City Council candidate in Elgin and current LAOE Board. Voters also expressed some of the issues shaping their vote, voicing their concerns over preserving immigrant services in the state budget, improving language assistance at the polls, and preserving families within immigration policy. The issue cited most frequently by voters included accessing and expanding government services targeting their communities and public safety. Legal director Andy Kang emphasized the value of learning what’s on voter minds. “We can’t advocate for a state agenda down in Springfield without the input of our community members, so an effort like early voting day is a great opportunity to take a temperature check.” On March 20 the PAVE Coalition will go down to Springfield to lay the groundwork for the State Agenda, which tackles issues from domestic workers’ rights to Election Day registration. This is all in the lead up to May 15 when hundreds of Asian Americans will take part in the biggest advocacy day of its kind, Asian American Action Day, meeting with legislators and voicing their concerns. PAVE Coalition includes: Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Chinese American Service League, Chinese Mutual Aid Association, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services, Indo-American Center, Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago, Korean American Community Services, Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Lao American Community Services, Lao American Organization of Elgin, Muslim Women Resource Center.