With the growth of South Asian Americans comes increasing interest in understanding the social and economic challenges facing South Asian Americans along with their political leanings. In 2012, SAAPRI, Advancing Justice – Chicago, and the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment coalition released a report titled “Asian American Community Engagement Project – Voting Trends and Access in 2012,” based on in-person exit polling during the 2012 Illinois primary and general elections. Grounded in community-based research, the report discusses the opinions and experiences of Asian American and South Asian American voters in Chicago and the suburbs. The report provides crucial insights on voter behavior, issues of importance when selecting a candidate, and forms of civic engagement beyond voting. About 80% of respondents noted that they were born outside of the United States and that English was not their first language. Over 20% of South Asian American voters who responded understood English less than very well, but only about 7% used a translated ballot or bilingual poll worker, even though assistance in Hindi, Gujarati, and Urdu is now required by law in Chicago and Cook County.
This report reflects our community’s distinct perspectives on the political issues and civic engagement challenges facing us today, and it will form the basis of an ongoing dialogue about addressing these challengesKathleen Fernicola, policy and program director of Advancing Justice – Chicago.
- Read the Full Report here