Editor’s Note: The below is from Binh Truong Ly, our fellow at Tim Kaine‘s campaign & one of our 2012 endorsed candidates. Look out for Binh’s bio along with more on our 3 fellows this year in our newsletter later this week.
With only 14 days left in the election, the sense of urgency has never been greater and will only increase as we near November 6th. I am the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Outreach Coordinator, serving on the Political Team. I plan, organize and staff events for Governor Tim Kaine, who is running for U.S. Senate in Virginia. Additionally, I ensure that the entire Democratic ticket is well-represented in the AAPI community, including community festivals and events. As important is the field aspect of my work where I train and manage volunteers who participate in our bi-lingual phonebanks. The Virginia Democratic Coordinated Campaign recognizes the need to reach out to communities where English may not be the primary language spoken in the house.
Today was especially busy. In addition to getting the word out for a Filipino American community meet-and-greet with Governor Kaine and Congressman Bobby Scott in Virginia Beach, I trained volunteers for a Vietnamese American phonebank.
There are still many Asian American voters who are “undecided” in Northern Virginia. Virginia is a swing state with Congressional races that will be won by just a few thousand votes, which means our AAPI communities can make the difference between who wins and who loses. Who better to reach out to Korean and Vietnamese voters than Korean and Vietnamese volunteers?
With the help of my colleagues, we were able to create virtual call list that allow our volunteers to connect with voters in their own language, no matter where they live.
Yesterday, we gathered Korean American volunteers to call targeted districts in-language. Today, we had volunteers call in Vietnamese. With just a handful of volunteers we made a great number of meaningful conversations. Using translated scripts as a guide, the volunteers took the time to tell voters why they are voting the way they are and why they are taking the time to volunteer in the first place. Nothing can beat a personal appeal made from a volunteer that shares a voter’s language and culture. This is the kind of voter outreach that the campaign needs especially with the Presidential, Senatorial, and Congressional races so close.
In these last couple weeks it will be crucial to convey the sense of urgency to Asian American volunteers and how their effort can make an impact.
– Binh Truong Ly