- Asian American voters, whose turnout doubled between 2016 to 2020, are once again expected to be the deciding factor in this close Senate runoff between the incumbent and Republican candidate Hershel Walker.
South Asian Americans rallied this past weekend in Georgia for incumbent Democratic candidate Sen. Raphael Warnock who is facing Republican Herschel Walker in the Dec. 6 Senate runoff. The events were organized by political action committees like the Indian American Impact and the AAPI Victory Fund, as well as grassroot organizations like the Asian American Advocacy Fund and South Asians for America. Lawmakers and elected officials joined volunteers and staff as they galvanized South Asian American and Asian American voters.
In Atlanta, Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill), New Jersey Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer, Virginia State Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, Knoxville, Tennessee City Councilwoman Seema Singh, Pennsylvania State Representative-elect Tarik Khan and Texas State Representative-elect Suleman Lalani, attended a Dec. 4 event organized by Impact and the Asian American Advocacy Fund. They knocked on doors and talked to undecided voters to inspire and encourage Asian American voters to show up to the polls on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
In Gwinnett County, volunteers at South Asians for America worked with the Democratic Party of Georgia and Gwinnett Democrats on Dec. 3, to help organize and mobilize AAPI voters. They were joined by newly elected Georgia State Representatives-elect Ruwa Romman and Farooq Mughal, and State Senator-elect Nabilah Islam, the first South Asian woman in the chamber.
Experts believe that the Asian American vote could decide the outcome of this close battle. According to 2021 AAPI Data, Asian voter turnout nearly doubled in Georgia between 2016 and 2020 — 73,000 in 2016 to 134,000 in 2020. “This 7-point gain, a nearly 14 percent proportional increase over the 51% baseline, is the highest recorded for any racial group in the firm’s analysis so far,” AAPI Data said.
According to the AAPI Victory Fund, like in 2020, the Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) voter base “has the power to determine elections up and down the ticket.” This year, “there are 13.3 million AANHPI eligible voters this year, up 9% from the last midterms,” AAPI reveals.
Similarly, Neil Mkahjia, executive director of Indian American Impact believes that once again, Georgia’s South Asian and Asian American voters can play a pivotal role in determining the direction of the country. “Mobilizing the South Asian community, and Asian American voters all across the country, is critical for our democracy,” he says in an Impact press release.
Last month, members of the Georgia General Assembly created the first formal Georgia Legislative Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus. Varun Nikore, AAPI Victory Alliance executive director told Atlanta First News that the newly-formed caucus “can focus on doing several things that I think are going to be very favorable for the community moving forward.” It will also “help increase representation within the government as well as have an indirect impact on voter turnout.” Starting in 2023, Georgia will have the most AAPI legislators of any state legislature in the nation.