APIAVote and Ohio Partners Express Disappointment on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Failure to Delay State Primary Election

WASHINGTON D.C. and OHIO – APIAVote, Asian Services in Action, and TARGETOHIO express disappointment that the Ohio Supreme Court failed to approve the motion that would have delayed the primary elections from May 3 to June 28, thereby giving adequate time for new redistricting maps to be drawn.

Fair district maps impact all communities, including that of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (“AAPI”), who have grown by 58% and 44% respectively in Ohio (2020 U.S. Census data), since 2010. It is imperative that the new Ohio district maps fully reflect the growth of our communities, to ensure that AAPIs get fair representation in elections.

While we are pleased that this fourth attempt by Ohio’s redistricting commission to draw congressional district maps includes the addition of independent mapmakers, we are disappointed that the Ohio Supreme Court denied the motion to delay the Primary Election from May 3 to June 28. Delaying the date of the election would have provided the necessary time for the redistricting process to be carried out completely and fairly.

“Fair districting is the backbone of a strong and inclusive democracy,” said Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote). “They should not be drawn to make it easier for incumbents to stay in power, but should accurately reflect the growth of all our communities – AAPIs included. Pushing back this year’s Primary Election date was necessary to give the commission enough time to draw up new maps. We are disappointed with the court’s decision.”

“Primary turnout amongst AAPI voters in Ohio is already a challenge, and well below the state average. For the midterm primaries in 2018, the AAPI turnout was approximately 12%, compared with the state turnout of 21%. Holding multiple primary dates as suggested by the current Secretary of State, will further suppress voter turnout,” said Dr. Lisa Kuan, Board President of TARGETOHIO. “There will be confusion amongst voters regarding who they are voting for and inadequate time for candidates to prepare, as their districts are yet to be determined. Additionally, this is wasteful use of taxpayer money.”

“Voting and civic engagement is a precious and powerful right that inspires many to embrace American citizenship,” said Elaine Tso, Chief Executive Officer of Asian Services in Action. “Unsettled or unjust redistricting, however, diminishes the importance and purpose of each citizen’s vote. Considering Ohio’s unsettled state legislative district maps, our Primary Election should be moved back in order to ensure that voting in Ohio properly and fairly represents all citizens.”

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Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) is the nation’s leading nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to engaging, educating, and empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities to strengthen their voices and create impact. For 15 years, APIAVote has been at the forefront of a rising movement to ensure AAPIs are represented and heard, leading to historic voter turnout and advancing equity for AAPI communities. Learn more at https://apiavote.org

The AAPI Research Group and Engagement Team – Ohio (TARGETOHIO) believes in the collective power of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. AAPI Ohioans must be included as an integral part of our democracy—civically engaged, politically active, and voting in record numbers. TARGETOHIO will serve as the vehicle for delivering the AAPI political voice. Learn more at https://www.targetohio.org/

Asian Services in Action (ASIA) is the largest health and human services agency serving the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community of Northeast Ohio. ASIA runs two federally qualified health centers —one in Cleveland and one in Akron—that specialize in linguistically and culturally competent care for immigrants and refugees. ASIA also provides all of the wrap around social services for this community to thrive in Northeast Ohio. Learn more at https://www.asiaohio.org/