Chinatown Residents Indifferent to Voter Registration Efforts

In an effort to convince Chinatown residents to register to vote, the Chinese American Voters Federation set up a registration desk at the office of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association during the Memorial Day weekend. But few residents took the opportunity to register, Sing Tao Daily’s print edition reported, a symptom of voter apathy in the Chinese community. The article is translated from Chinese below. 

Last Monday, the Chinese American Voters Federation set up a station at the office of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association [in Manhattan’s Chinatown] to register voters. The response from passersby, however, was lukewarm.

Despite good weather conditions and a large crowd, Chinatown residents did not seem interested in registering to vote. One woman showed some curiosity but left quickly.

Virginia Wong, president of CAVF, said Flushing has the highest voter and political participation among neighborhoods where large Chinese populations are concentrated. Still, she added, the enthusiasm for voter registration in the Chinese community is not very high.

Most registered Chinese voters are seniors, Wong said. She explained that the trend is due to the fact that many younger Chinese residents are not registered despite their higher level of education. Some young adults, for instance, are doctors, lawyers, accountants and business owners.

State regulations allow all American citizens over the age of 18 who do not have felony records and do not have the right to vote in another jurisdiction, to become registered voters.  Those who qualify can register their names and addresses. They can register with a political party or remain independent. Prospective voters should include a copy of their identification and register by mail. [They can also register at the offices of the Board of Elections of the City of New York.]

Wong said that many Chinese residents work very hard and live comfortably in the country, but are rarely involved in the political process. As a result, she said, their voice is not heard on government policies. Wong noted that with more Chinese candidates running for public office, they need the support of their community. She urged residents to register as voters as soon as possible.

Edited by Justin Chan

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