Washington, DC – After weeks of increased intimidation and threats by Trump and other GOP leaders, voter turnout in Tuesday’s 2018 midterm elections shows that our communities will show up en masse to reject an anti-immigrant and anti-worker agenda.
APALA National Executive Director, Alvina Yeh, comments, “Corporate interests continue to spend an unprecedented amount of money to defeat ballot measures that would have benefited our communities and candidates who would have fought for workers. This election shows how important our work continues to be, as we engage with our communities to fight for under-resourced programs and to resist undue corporate influence in our society.”
By organizing our communities, expanding the electorate with first time voters, and getting them to the polls in record numbers, Democrats regained the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives with the addition of 26 seats, including historic wins for progressive women of color candidates in several districts across the country.
APALA’s civic engagement program in the 2018 midterm election cycle focused specifically on door knocking, phone banking, registering voters, and protecting voters at the polls in California, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. In California, big dialysis and landlord associations pushed voters to say no on caps for dialysis fees (Proposition 8) and no to ending rent control limits (Proposition 10) but elected pro-worker candidate Gavin Newsom and other pro-worker candidates into city councils. In Washington, voters said yes to police training and criminal liability in cases of deadly force (Initiative Measure No 940), but no to levying a carbon fee (Initiative Measure No. 1631). In Nevada, our communities successfully lowered barriers to voting by saying yes to automatic voter registration at the DMV (Question 5) and elected Democrat Jacky Rosen to the the U.S. Senate. In Virginia, voters replaced Republican Representative Comstock with Democratic candidate Jennifer Wexton as a clear push back on the Trump agenda. Across the board, early vote and election day turnout was high.
In addition to chapters in targeted areas, APALA chapters and members across the country educated, mobilized, and turned out the vote in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. With 71% of Asian Americans having never been contacted about elections, our program made major strides in voter contact for our community. APALA chapters alongside their unions, worker centers, and community partners conducted culturally competent voter education at community town halls in Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. In districts across the nation, APALA was proud to be among the few organizations to reach out to the AAPI community and bridge the wide voter contact gap we’ve typically seen. As union members and workers, our chapter members connected voters to how elections impact our families’ economic well-being and how we can continue fighting for our communities post-election.
Yeh says, “We celebrate our work this election cycle to keep families together, ensure working people earn living wages, guarantee access to health and nutritious foods, create safe environments for LGBTQ folks, provide educational opportunities for our youth, and so much more. We will use this momentum to bring more people along, to grow our movement, and to continue to build people power.”