Election Day is Nov 8th

By: TACL Citizenship Team

Austin Ko, TACL Citizenship Director; Charles Pan, former TAP-NY President; Jeff Shieh, PIP Director; Crystal Tang, former TAP-NY Internal Vice President; Victor J Wang, TAP-NY Advocacy Chair; Jacqui Wu, TACL President

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Election Day is upon us and we would like to encourage all TACL friends and family to get to the polls and exercise your right to vote – remember the A (for American) in TACL!

Below is a brief FAQ for common questions or concerns you might have on this day.

I’m not registered. What should I do?

Don’t worry, you still have some time before voter registration closes. Here are important voter registration deadline dates for our members across the US:

Oct 10: Washington
Oct 11: DC, Georgia, Texas
Oct 14: New York
Oct 17: Virginia
Oct 18: Maryland, New Jersey
Oct 19: Massachusetts
Oct 24: California

Conveniently, many states now let you register online here: https://vote.usa.gov/. If you need more state-specific voter information, head here: http://www.apiavote.org/states.

I am registered. Where do I vote?

Check this site to locate your closest polling location: http://www.apiavote.org/voter-information

What do I need to bring?

Your physical self and a valid ID. A driver’s license works perfectly.

I don’t feel the impact of politics nor do I care about it.

Politics is a lot more pervasive than many people think. Everything from whether you can ride your bike on the sidewalk (my friend got a ticket for doing this in Brooklyn), to how late bars can serve alcohol (Boston mandates 2am!), to even getting tax breaks for starting your company, are all determined by our local and state legislatures. Remember, there are other races going on besides the one for President, e.g., voting for Assembly members.

Plus, people in other countries are fighting for their right to vote – it’s not something most people can take for granted. Voting is a privilege. Don’t forsake it!

I don’t want to vote when I’m not informed.

Plato has a quote: “One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Don’t go without voicing your opinion when there are others out there – who might be even less informed – going to the polls. Did you know that there are 32 million American adults who do not know how to read? (US Dept of Education.) They can vote. Do you think they would be more informed than you?

Even if you cast an empty ballot, you’re making a big impact because your attendance is recorded. Asian Americans historically have low turnout rates (an abysmal 31% compared to blacks at 44% and whites at 49%) at the polls, and combined with our already small population size of only 5% of the US, this is the primary reason why politicians don’t take us seriously. By contrast, Jewish Americans make up 2% of the US population and 90% of eligible voters are registered and vote. Consider the impact we could be making.

Get informed! A lot of websites out there break down the Presidential candidates by their stances on issues – just Google it. (www.isidewith.com)

Language access can be a barrier for 1st gen voters in terms of voter registration and understanding the ballot; so if you have no language barrier, you should try to get informed and help inform people with language barriers. If you are bilingual, consider volunteering your time to be a precinct officer on election day.

My vote does not matter.

That’s not true.

Did you know that only 9% of the US population voted for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the US Presidential primaries, which essentially inked their 2016 presidential candidacy? You see, a small group of people can make a big difference. With less people voting, each vote actually matters more. It’s simple math.

I can’t take time off work to vote.

It only takes 10 minutes (usually less) to vote. Voting hours are typically longer than the work day – for example, in New York, you can go anytime between the hours of 6am to 9pm, a 15 hour window. In California, you get PTO for voting – up to 2 hours (California Elections Code § 14000).

Furthermore, there are absentee ballot options where you can mail in your vote from the convenience of your home.

There is no point because the government is too inefficient to get anything done.

It is true that government takes time to make decisions and take action, but that is also because they are taking the time to make sure they have heard all sides of the story and have their analyses completed. When you have a country with a population of over 300 million, there are a lot of voices to listen to, and it takes time to get things done. Don’t have a defeatist attitude!