A call to increase Fil-Am voter registration

NEW YORK – According to the 2014 US Census estimate, of the 3.8 million Filipinos in the US, close to 3.2 million of them are US citizens.

Community leaders said based on the latest US census, roughly 76 percent or about 2.8 million Filipino-Americans are potential voters in the 2016 US presidential election.

But according to their estimates, only about half of these eligible Fil-Ams have registered to vote.

Harley Barrales of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations’ Fil-Am Vote said their main objective is to educate Pinoys to register.

“We have the number on paper but we need to translate that into actual voting,” said Barrales.

The Fil-Am Vote was part of a larger Asian-American vote which was about 3.9 million in the 2012 presidential elections.

“If you go out and register to vote, you are not speaking just for yourself and your community, but you are speaking for Asian Americans at large,” said Stephanie Chrispin, vice president of Unipro. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice.”

While Latinos are the most talked about voter demographic in US elections, Asian-Americans are actually the fastest growing demographic, and both Democratic and Republican parties are realizing the potential of the Asian-American vote.

“We are shaping what the country is going to look like,” she said. “In a lot of states, the Asian American vote and the Filipino vote specifically is a swing vote. We determine who gets elected.”

In May 2014, the Republican National Committee has appointed Ninio Fetalvo as press secretary for Asian American and Pacific Islander media.

Last week, the Clinton campaign named Jason Tengco their AAPI outreach director for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Both are Filipino-Americans.

“That means that they’re starting to care, starting to notice us,” said Iris Zalun, voting rights organizer of the Asian-American Legal defense and Education Fund. “We should build off of that momentum and exercise our right and privilege to vote.”

However, because of the low 30 percent turnout in the past elections, the relevance of the Asian-American vote as well as the Filipino-American vote has often been ignored.

Organizers of this register and vote campaign said if there is a large enough Fil-Am voter turnout in November, only then can both political parties see the increasingly important Filipino-American vote.

“Voting matters to me because it gives me a chance to actually makes the changes that I wanted to see,” said registered voter Blase Ferraris. “It gives me opportunity to make my voice matter.”

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  • Mario
    30 March 2016 at 4:41 am - Reply

    Kabayan, register and vote!! Vote a US President that will help the PH. Hillary Clinton is China’s candidate, Bill & Hillary made China an economic and military power.China is one of the biggest donors on Clinton Foundation. With Hillary in power, China will continue to grab more island, explore oil, at western PH sea. Trump foreign policy on China is to stop the Chinese for manipulating their currency. Imposed 35%-45% tariff(taxes) on all Chinese made product arriving in the US.It means it will put China into recession, that they will have a hard time to continue or maintain their artificial island military bases at Western PH. With the high tariff on China, US manufacturing based in China, will be forced to come back into the US and this will paralyzed China’s economy.