ASIAN-AMERICAN VOTER REGISTRATION TRAINING AT STETSON LAW. Mark Antokas

09/21/04

INTRO: According to a combined 2001 Cal Tech and MIT report on the 2000 election, between four and six million votes were lost due to voter registration, polling practices, and ballot irregularities. According to “The Power On!�, an organization dedicated to voter registration, voter intimidation, irregularities in statewide election procedures, and purged voter rolls have hindered voters in the political process. Last night, at the Tampa Law Center of Stetson University, a voter registration training class was held for Asian Americans. WMNF’s Mark Antokas was there.

SCRIPT: The U.S. Census report in 2000 indicates that only 61% of Women, and 68% of men voted in the last election. For African-Americans it is worse at 57%. Hispanics were at 45%. For Asian-Americans the percentage was only at 43%. Only one in six Asians voted in the 2000 elections, a figure which spurred WMNF volunteer reporter Grace Santos, a student at Stetson Law and a Filipino American, to contact Power On, an organization dedicated to registering and motivating and educating people of color to vote. Alma Ayala, of Power on. Roll tape:

Alma Ayala explains the mission of Power On in the Tampa Bay Area, and says the effort to get out the vote for this election has been overwhelming. Roll Tape:

Ayala says that the voter mobilization effort has been cross-cultural. Roll Tape;

The Asian American Law Student Association, founded by Grace Santos, has found that the Asian-American community has the lowest voting participation. There are many reasons for this, the language barrier being one. Typically, the Asian-American vote has been split between Republican and Democrat, but in more heavily populated states like California and New York, asian-americans have had more of a political voice. Still, Asian-Americans have been Type-Cast as a model minority. But there are, in the Bay area, a growing number of Asians who have social needs. Jonje Sibayan, a Filipino-American, attended the registration training saying that he felt obligated to help his community. Roll tape:

Ayala says that after the election is not the time to have second thoughts about not voting. Roll Tape:

SOCK-OUT: You can reach Grace Santos of the Asian American Law Student Association at: www.law.stetson.edu/studentorg/asian. You can receive training to register people to vote by calling Alma Ayala at: 727-522-6322. The cut-off date to register to vote in the November election is October 4th. This is Mark Antokas for WMNF radio news.

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