In Gwinnett County outside Atlanta, which has the state’s largest AAPI population, more than 30,000 AAPI voters cast their ballots early this year compared with 9,500 in 2016. Of those who voted early this year, 43 percent had not voted in 2012, 2016 or 2018, according to Cho’s group.
That affected more than just the presidential race. Progressive organizers say the surge of AAPI votes helped Democrats retake a U.S. House seat in the 7th Congressional District, where Carolyn Bourdeaux won by fewer than 9,000 votes. That was the only seat in the country that Democrats flipped this year, other than two in North Carolina that were reshaped by redistricting.
In September, an annual survey by APIAVote and AAPI Data found that Vietnamese Americans were the only group to prefer Trump over Biden, while Indian Americans were the most likely to vote for the Democrat.
If Democrats seek to appeal to Asian Americans based on their image of a tolerant, inclusive America that welcomes immigrants, some Republicans see an opening based on appeals to social and fiscal conservatism and anti-Communism. During the campaign, Republican officials stressed Trump’s support for tax cuts, and even some Democrats conceded such messages could resonate.
Organizers said both parties could do far more when it comes to AAPI outreach. The September survey of Asian American voters found that across the country, 50 percent had not been contacted by the Democratic Party at all regarding the 2020 elections, and 55 percent of them had not been contacted by the Republican Party.