Growing Research Shows AAPI Women Voters Should Not Be Ignored

August 26, 2020
Contact: Nikki Metzgar

(WASHINGTON)— A new brief from the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) titled “Mighty Voices: Asian American and Pacific Islander Women Voters in 2020” draws on public opinion research and the experience of staff and volunteers in NAPAWF’s voter engagement program to describe what we’ve learned about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women voters and share our recommendations on how to mobilize these critical communities in a year when candidates can take no vote for granted.  

One hundred years since the adoption of the 19th amendment and still AAPI women voters are denied the right to and power of their vote through attacks on our voting rights, disenfranchisement tactics, and lack of investment from those in power. This year, NAPAWF is developing a multilingual team of 50 volunteers to engage AAPI voters in Illinois, Georgia, Indiana, Arizona, and Florida and clear their path to the ballot box.

“AAPI women hold significant but untapped voting power. Asian Americans will constitute nearly 10 percent of eligible voters by 2036 and we are engaging in politics more than ever,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of NAPAWF. “But AAPI communities have been ignored by political leadership across the ideological spectrum and denied the investment and resources necessary to convert the strongly held, values-driven concerns that AAPI voters express into the fully actualized political force for change we have the potential to wield.”

“Despite the misconception that our communities are a ‘sleeping political giant,’ our experience on the ground, engaging with, and listening to, these voters shows that AAPI women are very much awake, engaged, and motivated to vote. In a year when a woman of South Asian descent is on the presidential ballot for the first time in U.S. history, it would be a monumental mistake to continue leaving these voters on the sidelines,” Choimorrow added.

Public opinion research conducted in the aftermath of the 2018 midterms–which includes both specific issues important to AAPI voters and AAPI women voters’ experiences at the polls–demonstrates that AAPI women are deeply concerned about the political status quo and highly motivated to bring about change through voting.

  • 86% of AAPI women voters believed the stakes were too high not to vote.

  • 28% of AAPI women voters faced barriers when they voted in 2018. 

  • 74% of AAPI women voters agreed that political candidates often fail to acknowledge what matters most to them and say that as women of color they want elected officials to understand how their experiences and needs differ from those of their white women constituents.

In order to mobilize these values-driven voters, political leadership should:

  • Invest in voter engagement work with AAPI women

  • Dismantle barriers to voting, including gender-specific barriers

  • Address AAPI women voters’ unique language needs

  • Make disaggregated data about AAPI women voters available   

The full brief is available at

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The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.