Low Numbers for Asian and Pacific Islander Voters in Washington - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Low Numbers for Asian and Pacific Islander Voters in Washington Prompt Yakima Valley Citizens to Educate on the Importance of Voting

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YAKIMA, Wash. -

Did you know that Washington's Asian pacific islander population is the second largest immigrant population in the state? But for voting that number may be misrepresented...

Asians and Pacific Islanders make up eight percent the state population but less than half are registered to vote. Fewer Asians and Pacific Islanders have turned out for the polls than in years past. Several factors have affected that and the Asian community has noticed.

"It's is now second to the immigrant population from Latin America" says Asian-Pacific Islander Coalition Chairman Dori Peralta-Baker. "...Asian and pacific islanders in Washington state number 358,000 and out of those API's living in Washington, only 60,000 registered and voted in the last election.”

And a growing number of people should also mean a growing number of voters, but those numbers are at an all time low.

A number of factors have affected both voter turnout and the demographics of Asian and Pacific Islanders who vote.

Rey Pascua, president of the Filipino Americans Community of Yakima Valley thinks non pressing community issues play a part in the lack of voting."Voter apathy in the Asian pacific islander community...if it's not affecting you, then you're probably not gonna be to excited about it..."

"The Filipinos and some of the Asians have Hispanic surnames so they're kind of mixed in and here in Yakima valley, we're kind of a minority within a minority..." continued Peralta-Baker. She also went on to say that new immigrants and others who are new to the country understand the democratic process, but simply do not prioritize it over raising and supporting their families.

That's where the Asian pacific islander coalition comes into play...

"Their initiative is to teach people how to register, how to get interested in the issues that concern you..." says Pascua.

The Asian-Pacific Islander Coalition for the Yakima valley will be hosting a series of events to help inform and educate new API voters.

On October 28th from 5.30 to 7.30 pm, Alfredo Fontanilla and Dr. Robert Plumb will be hosting a civic engagement ballot party at 5010 Terrace Heights Dr. in Yakima.

On October 29th, the a senior Halloween ballot party will be held at the Filipino Community Hall in Wapato from 2 to 4 pm.

Also on October 29th, the Filipino Community Hall in Wapato will be hosting another civic ballot engagement party from 5.30 to 7.30 pm.

All three events will help people attending register to vote for the 2016 presidential elections.