Advocates aim to register more Filipinos for 2014 mid-term elections

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 26, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. – September 23 marked the National Voter Registration Day in the United States in preparation for the November mid-term elections.

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and the full terms for 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be decided in this election.

Citizens will also have an opportunity to vote for their state governor and other officers.

Some Filipinos in the San Francisco Bay Area are still undecided if they will participate in the upcoming elections.

“I don’t think I am registered right now,” said Briane Nuval, “But I do plan on registering just for the November elections.”

“Yes, I am registered to vote,” said Nate Pati. “It’s super important to vote just to have voice heard, to have some type of input.”

“I am registered to vote but I’m probably not, just because I haven’t been following too much,” said Allan Tina. “I don’t feel well-informed.”

The Filipino Advocates for Justice gathered in their office in Oakland to call Filipinos throughout the state to urge them to at least register for the upcoming elections.

“This is the mid-term election and generally the turn out isn’t as high as it is for the general election,” said Lilian Galedo of Filipino Advocates for Justice, “So we’re trying to take advantage of this time to promote participating in the democratic process so we have a higher turnout for the 2016 presidential election, which will be a very, very important year.”

According to Political Date Inc., over 400,000 Filipinos are registered to vote in California.

The Filipino Advocates for Justice says that since many Filipino communities in the Bay Area make up a large percentage of the population, Filipinos can be the swing vote in a candidate’s election or passing of a measure.

The Filipino Party affiliation statewide is 40 percent Democrat, 26 percent Republican, and 31 percent non-partisan or decline to state.

“The fact that so many Filipinos are ‘decline to state,’ means they can go either way,” said Galedo. “They could be a Democrat one election and a Republican the next election and many of the people who ran for office are targeting their campaigns towards those people.”

Ricardo Reynoso of the Alameda County Registrar of Voters says that his office is doing everything they can to make voting as easy as possible.

“All you have to do is go online, look up the website and you could register,” said Reynoso. “On election day, you have vote by mail process which would allow you to just mail a voter’s ballot and you could do this at the comfort of your own home.”

While there are currently 400,000 Filipino registered voters in California, Reynoso and the Filipinos Advocating for Justice believe more could be eligible to register and vote.

“I think the Filipino eligible voter who has not registered yet has to be unearthed,” said Reynoso. “He has to be found. He has to be convinced that indeed participating and registering is a civic duty and an engagement.”

One Comment

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  • Kuya
    26 September 2014 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    We Filipinos need to Unite and use our voting power to elect govt officials who are helpful to us and to our State…