Election 2016: South Asian Americans Turn Out to Vote in Northwest Suburbs

Brandon Lee
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
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South Asians make a difference in the 2nd largest Asian American Congressional district in Illinois

For the March 15th Illinois Primary Elections, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago and South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI) contacted over 7,600 infrequent South Asian voters in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Election Day was the culmination of a two-month effort that included community forums, direct mail, telephone, and media outreach to motivate participation.

“South Asians have been the target of hate speech by multiple candidates this election season, and today the community showed that such messaging won’t be tolerated,” said Reema Kapur of SAAPRI. “There are over 92,000 Asian Americans in the 8th Congressional District, and over 43,000 of them are South Asian, so our community has a vested interest in this race.” The 8th Congressional District includes Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Elk Grove Village, Roselle, and Bloomingdale.

The candidates for election included a South Asian American, Raja Krishnamoorthi, running for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District. The seat is being vacated by another Asian American, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

“Fewer than 300 votes decided the 2010 general election in this district,” continued Kapur. “Our community members know that if they show up in November, they can decide the winner.”

SAAPRI and Advancing Justice | Chicago will continue outreach to the community in the weeks leading up to Asian American Action Day in May, 2016, which focuses on state level efforts, and again for the General Elections in November.

“Civic engagement is not a one day event when we go to Springfield for Asian American Action Day on May 17, we want South Asian Americans to be a huge part of the crowd,” said Tuyet Le of Advancing Justice | Chicago. “As part of our community’s push to build power we will be supporting measures including Automatic Voter Registration which will add thousands of new voters to the rolls.”


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is the leading pan-Asian, multi-issue organization in the Midwest dedicated to empowering the Asian American community through advocacy by utilizing education, research, and coalition-building. Established in 1992, Advancing Justice | Chicago (formerly the Asian American Institute) was founded by a group of visionary Chicago community activists, academicians, and business leaders in response to the growing need to build a pan-Asian policy agenda among Chicago’s diverse Asian American communities. Advancing Justice | Chicago projects a united voice on the most pressing issues of concern to Asian Americans in metropolitan Chicago.

Advancing Justice | Chicago is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is a member of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice national affiliation, with partner affiliates in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta.