Korean-Americans Actively Register to Vote

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Nonprofit organizations in Koreatown held campaigns on Tuesday to help more Korean-Americans become registered voters. Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance manager Seung-hye Seo (on the far left) is helping Ja-hoon and Kyung-ja Kim register to vote alongside K.W. Lee Center for Leadership manager Do-hyung Kim Kim (on the far right). Sang Jin Kim
Nonprofit organizations in Koreatown held campaigns on Tuesday to help more Korean-Americans become registered voters. Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance manager Seung-hye Seo (on the far left) is helping Ja-hoon and Kyung-ja Kim register to vote alongside K.W. Lee Center for Leadership manager Do-hyung Kim Kim (on the far right). Sang Jin Kim

Los Angeles Koreatown’s nonprofit organizations are campaigning to amplify the political voice of the community by encouraging more Korean-Americans to vote in the upcoming presidential election, which is set to take place in November.

About 10 community organizations, including Korean American Coalition, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, K.W. Lee Center for Leadership, 3.1 Women’s Association and Korean American Federation of L.A., held their respective campaigns on Tuesday across Koreatown with booths to help Korean-Americans become registered voters.

“I was given the chance to register to vote while I was out and about with my husband,” said Soon-hee Kang, a 64-year-old Arcadia resident. “I would be participating in the election in November had it not been for today.”
Many of the Korean-Americans who registered to vote on this day were senior citizens, who never had the chance or proper assistance to become eligible voters.

“One 80-year-old woman registered with our help as she said that it was her wish to cast her ballot during her lifetime,” said K.W. Lee Center for Leadership manager Do-hyung Kim. “Through all these years, she didn’t know how to register. We felt rewarded to be able to give her that chance.”

The interest in the upcoming election is stronger than ever, as many Korean-American voters admitting that they have already made up their mind as to who they will support.

“Hillary [Clinton] seems too arrogant,” said Ja-hoon Kim, who was interviewed alongside his wife, Kyung-ja Kim. “I support Trump, who is honest.”
Shortly thereafter, his wife quickly chimed in: “I dislike Trump. I support Hillary, who has experience as a politician and is trustworthy. I’ll refuse to cook for [my husband] if he really does vote for Trump!”

Approximately eight to nine out of 10 Korean-Americans who registered to vote on this day said that they will be voting for Clinton, according to representatives of the community organizations who held their campaigns.

“People were more open to registering to vote, perhaps because it was a day after the first presidential debate,” said Korean American Coalition development manager Christina Kang. “Korean-Americans in general are supporting the democratic nominee.”

At five booths set up by Korean American Coalition on Tuesday, 491 people have registered as new voters, according to the organization’s campaign organizers.

As of July 17, California had approximately 18 million registered voters, while the state’s 6.8 American citizens still remained unregistered. The last day to register for the voters is Oct. 24.

Nonprofit organizations in Koreatown held campaigns on Tuesday to help more Korean-Americans become registered voters. Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance manager Seung-hye Seo (on the far left) is helping Ja-hoon and Kyung-ja Kim register to vote alongside K.W. Lee Center for Leadership manager Do-hyung Kim Kim (on the far right). Sang Jin Kim

By Soo Yeon Oh