SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – New data suggest Democrats and Republicans may be missing a big voter block in Utah. According to Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote – less than 52 percent of the population has been reached out to.
Asian Americans are one of the fastest-growing populations in our state.
From 2012 to 2018, APIA Vote reports the Utah Asian Americans population grew 102 percent.
“If we turn out, everybody goes out and vote I think it is very, you know, can tip the balance,” said West Valley City District 1 Councilmen Tom Huynh.
The report goes on to state, of the 147,624 there are 75,144 eligible AAPI voters.
Largest Asian American ethnic groups in Utah include: Chinese (22,785), Filipino (17,923), Japanese (16,502), Indian (15,015), Korean (11,460), Vietnamese (11,252).
A 2018 survey of registered voters shows 38 percent of Asian Americans in Utah are independents.
Huynh added, “I told them you know that it is important to go out and vote for people.”
Utah House District 34 Representative Karen Kwan says traditionally Asian American Pacific Islanders are reached out by political afflictions through faith-based communities, schools, community leaders and organizations.
“We are getting more and more newcomers to Utah and reaching out to them has been exhilarating but challenging,” sais Rep. Kwan. “It is very important that we reach out to Asian Pacific Islanders, and I know that the community groups have been reaching out to them.”
That’s because, in Utah, APIA Vote states:
- About 7,372 Asian Americans in Utah (11%) lack health insurance.
- About 9,770 Asian Americans in Utah (14%) live in poverty.
- 69% of Asian Americans in Utah speak a language other than English at home.
Shu Cheng is the Executive Director of the Asian Association of Utah. He says materials produced in Asian languages helps break down the barriers the community faces.
“I think it is important for candidates to understand that the populations among the Asian Americans, they do speak various types of languages,” he said. “There are very few candidates who will target the Asian American as part of their significant supporters.”
If they did, candidates could have a chance to sway unaffiliated Utah Asian Americans to their party.