Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California's Asian-American voters include many who are undecided and nonpartisan

Party identification among Asian Americans

National Asian American Survey

A majority of California Asian-American voters choose neither Republican nor Democratic party registration.

A new study of California's Asian-American voters shows about 30 percent are undecided about the presidential race. That's a much higher rate of undecided voters than the overall population, which tends to be about 7 percent undecided.

Slightly more than half of all Asian-American voters in the state register as non-partisan, said UC Riverside political science professor Karthick Ramakrishnan.

"Asian-Americans are the most heavily immigrant group in the United States so it takes them a while to gain familiarity with the U.S. political system and figure out where they fit in with respect to the parties," Ramakrishnan said.

Another factor is that Asian-American voters receive the least amount of contact from political parties and campaigns, he said. And despite having fairly high levels of education, their turnout at the polls is among the lowest of any race or ethnic group, said Ramakrishnan.


Berman camp claims Sherman used campaign bank account for personal gain

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Democrats Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman are incumbent Congressmen who find themselves vying for the same seat because of redistricting.

The Berman-Sherman fight got a little nastier Monday.

Behind in the polls, the re-election campaign of Congressman Howard Berman accused rival Congressman Brad Sherman of “potential impropriety” when he earned interest on loans he made to his own campaign. The Berman campaign also said Sherman’s re-payment schedule allowed him to collect more interest. Over two decades, that amounted to $461,000, the Berman campaign alleged. 

“Congressman/CPA Brad Sherman has devised a scheme to use his campaigns as vehicles for self-enrichment and personal profit,” said Brandon Hall, senior advisor to the Berman campaign. (Sherman is a Certified Public Accountant).

In a statement, Sherman spokesman John Schwada responded that the practice was “completely legal,” and that the Congressman always charged interest that was at least two percent less than the rate he would have received “had he simply left the money in the bank.”  He noted other members of Congress engage in similar practices.


Richard Alarcon's preliminary hearing wrapping up with testimony on rotten eggs, soiled furniture

City Councilman Richard Alarcon

Andres Aguila/KPCC

The preliminary hearing for Richard Alarcon is expected to wrap up Tuesday. Prosecutors have said that spoiled food in the refrigerator was one sign the LA city councilman did not live at his legal residence.

As the preliminary hearing for Richard Alarcon finally winds down, attorneys for the L.A. City Councilman and his wife are focused on a peculiar question: how can you tell the expiration date of eggs?

The hearing for Richard and Flora Alarcon is expected to end Tuesday morning. Lawyers have been in and out of court since the middle of August. Richard Alarcon was first charged with 18 felonies, including voter fraud and perjury, back in August of 2010 when prosecutors announced that he had lived outside of his city council district. Flora Alarcon was charged with six similar felonies. 

Earlier this year, the charges were dismissed by a judge, then immediately refiled by the District Attorney’s Office. Both Alarcons have pleaded not guilty. Judge  M. L. Villar de Longoria is expected to rule, perhaps immediately, whether the Alarcons should stand trial.


Fung Bros. comedy video asks: 'Does your Asian mom vote?'

Andrew Fung in "Does your Asian mom vote?" video

screengrab from http://youtu.be/QlzXHL4N_M4

In this fantasy sequence from "Does your Asian mom vote?" a young man learns he might not get to college.

A provocative question is circulating on YouTube with a question for young voters in the San Gabriel Valley. It's the comedic Fung Brothers, David and Andrew, asking:  "Does your Asian mom vote?"

It shows their mom (actually, it's an actress, uncredited on the video) scurrying around the kitchen as the boys eat breakfast. They say they are going to vote. She tells them to mind their studies and not get involved in things that don't affect their prospects for success, like getting into medical and law school.

"What is one thing that will happen if you don't vote, huh?" she demands. Cue the fantasy sequence.

The Fung Brothers video (here they tell us the seven things Asian American teens love) is part of a larger campaign by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and 13 community partners with ties to Asian population groups in Southern California to encourage greater registration and voting.


A record number of Latinos are eligible to vote, but will they?

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The number of eligible Latino voters has grown dramatically since 2008, but registration and turnout remain challenges.

There are a record number of Latinos eligible to vote in this year's election, according to a new report. But how many will actually make it to the polls remains the bigger question.

There are now close to 24 million Latinos in the United States who are eligible to vote, according to the report from the Pew Hispanic Center, upwards of four million more than there were in 2008. Pew researchers came up with the number after crunching census data.

But Latino turnout has traditionally been unimpressive, and there's a chance these potential voters could continue to fall behind in voter participation. Even in 2008, some 50 percent of eligible Latino voters cast ballots, compared with two-thirds of black voters and white voters.

In addition, eligibility to vote doesn't equal registration. In spite of a growing Latino U.S. population — with the bulk of the growth now coming from native-born Latinos, not immigrants — the number of Latinos who said they are registered to vote went down between 2008 and 2010, according to Pew.