Asian American voters turned out in record numbers for the 2020 election, according to Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote). The organization hosted a press conference Wednesday, moderated by Executive Director Christine Chen.

According to TargetSmart, in 2016 the presidential election, a total of 751,778 AAPI voters cast an early ballot in key battleground states. In this year’s election, 911,393 AAPI early voters turned out to the polls. AAPI voter turnout in all but three battleground states (PA, VA, WI), exceeded their total from the 2016 election. 

The conference featured a variety of AAPI leaders from organizations in key battleground states including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Texas.

Community Power Coalition Director for Freedom, Inc., Ntxhais Chai Moua, discussed the extensive work Freedom, Inc. has done to encourage AAPI voter turnout in Wisconsin.

“We had to be really creative in the ways that we were assisting folks to request for the absentee ballots, how we were assisting folks on filling out their absentee ballots if they didn’t know how to,” Moua said. “And so I think through that, we were able to introduce and mobilize many of our community members to move to voting absentee.

“We actually trained and got out over 100 election defenders in the state of Wisconsin, to election defend at the polls. And, in addition to the election defense work that we did, we also held “Joy at the Polls” events. We took food trucks out, we took DJs out, we took music out, and partied at the polls, so that our community, Black and brown and Southeast Asian communities, felt welcomed at the polls,” added Moua.

Moua further outlined the accomplishments of Freedom, Inc. with regards to their work at the polls.

“We have spent the last four or five years building coalition, not just investing in individuals, but really investing in organizations and building infrastructures and building political home for AAPI communities all over the state of Wisconsin, and we see how that has been successful because in Wisconsin, six out of the seven counties that we did work in, that we invested in, turned out progressive voters,”  Moua said.

Moua also mentioned the recent election of AAPI candidates to public office, including the historic election of Franchesca Hong, the first Asian American person to be elected to the Wisconsin State assembly.

“It really shows that every vote counts and especially those with local elections,” said Moua. “…Investing in one woman is investing in the whole community.”

In the future, Moua noted that Freedom, Inc. will continue their civic engagement work.

“We’ve always had this long goal, this long dream of building lifelong socially conscious voters,” said Moua. “So we weren’t interested in just turning out folks to vote for one election, we were interested in the continuous political education and politicizing our community.”