When Joe Biden popped up in Warm Springs, Georgia to stump for votes, it underscored just how up for grabs the long-time Republican state has become this presidential election. And if Biden manages to become the first Democratic candidate to turn Georgia blue in 28 years, Asian Americans will likely play a decisive role in that victory.
Their ranks have soared in counties surrounding Atlanta in recent years, attracted to jobs in tech, science and medicine. Now up to almost a quarter million registered voters — more than enough to tip a tight race — Asian Americans here lean heavily Democratic and are highly motivated by economic issues, like income inequality and the call for higher taxes on the rich, pollsters say.
Indian Americans, the largest and wealthiest Asian group in Georgia, are the most inclined to vote for Democrats, research shows.
That’s partly due to experiences in their native country, where they’ve seen government-funded higher education, for example, pull many out of hardship.
“We understand what it is to come from the bottom, to have that kind of opportunity to rise up,” said SK Raj, a technology executive and president of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.
Asian Americans in Georgia and across the South “are aligning with a lot of bread-and-butter Democratic issues,” said Janelle Wong, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland.
At least 70% of that population in the South believe the federal government should do more to reduce income inequality and the same percentage believe the minimum wage should be raised, according to Wong’s research.
The economic fallout from Covid-19 is also likely to impact votes in Georgia, where Asian Americans own as many as 19% of restaurants, according to a report this year in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Small business ownership across the community is huge, said Stephanie Cho, executive director of the non-partisan
civil rights organisation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta.
Georgia’s overall unemployment rose last month to 6.4% from 5.7% in August, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which doesn’t report jobless rates by ethnic groups for the state on a monthly basis.
As of October 27, nearly half of the more that 71,000 Asians who voted early in Georgia didn’t cast a ballot in the 2016 election, according to data compiled by Georgiavotes.com.
Early voting turnout in US reached half of 2016 total
Americans have already cast more than half the total votes counted in 2016, as voters show intense enthusiasm and take precautions against the coronavirus pandemic.
With 6 days left to go until Election Day, more than 71 million early votes have been cast as of on Wednesday, 51.6% of the total turnout from th 2016 general election, according to the US Elections Project, which tracks early voting. That includes 47.8 million votes cast by mail-in ballots and 23.3 million in-person votes. There were 47.2 million total early votes cast in the 2016 election.
A record number of mail-in ballots are expected to be cast for the November 3 election after states expanded absentee voting in response to the pandemic, and there is heavy balloting at many early-voting locations with voters seeking to avoid any lines or problems at the polls on Election Day.
Among the states with the highest percentage of its total 2016 vote already cast so far are Texas at 86.9% and Washington at 76.1% etc.