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Korean Americans Make their Voices Heard in 2004

By March 30, 2006No Comments

Downloadable:  English press statement

November 4, 2004                 Contacts: Eun Sook Lee, 323-937-3703 (NAKASEC)    
Press Statement                      Dae Joong Yoon, 323-937-3718 (KRC)
For Immediate Release                      Kent Chaegu Lee, 773-506-9158 (KRCC)
Yu Soung Mun, 718-460-5600 (YKASEC)

Korean Americans Make their Voices Heard in 2004

[Los Angeles] With the 2004 Elections decided, the National Korean American Service and Education (NAKASEC) and its affiliates Korean Resource Center (Los Angeles), Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (Chicago), and YKASEC- Empowering the Korean American Community (New York), report on how Korean Americans made their voices heard and what they said.

In conjunction with national and local partners, such as the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund the Asian American Institute and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, more than 1,300 Korean American voters were surveyed in many polling sites across the U.S. The following are some of the preliminary findings:

***Korean Americans leaned towards Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry for president.  
– In Flushing, New York 204 or 29% of respondents voted for Republican candidate, President George Bush and 416 or 60% of respondents voted for Senator Kerry.
– In Chicago 64 or 47% of respondents voted for President Bush and 72 or 52% of respondents voted for Senator Kerry.  
– In Los Angeles 95 or 40% of respondents voted for President Bush and 129 or 58% of respondents voted for Senator Kerry.

***First time voters had a strong showing in all three cities.  
– 225 respondents or 32% of those surveyed were first time voters in Flushing.
– 46 respondents or 31% of those surveyed were first time voters in Chicago.
– 87 respondents or 38% of those surveyed were first time voters in Los Angeles.

***Korean Americans aged 40-59 were most likely to come out to the polls.  
– In Flushing, 242 respondents or 35% were between the ages of 40-59 years.
– In Chicago, 58 respondents or 39% were between the ages of 40-59 years.
– In Los Angeles, 110 respondents or 48% were between the ages of 40-59 years.

***Korean Americans have a wide variety of concerns that influenced their vote for president. I
Crimes in neighborhoods, Healthcare, as well as Terrorism and Security ranked very highly amongst Korean Americans in Flushing, New York. In Chicago, Economy and Jobs, Immigrants and Civil Rights, and Terrorism and Security were rated as the most important issues. Data for Los Angeles is currently not available.

Eun Sook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC, reflected on the work done in preparation for this election: “NAKASEC and its affiliates have worked throughout the year to encourage the participation of Korean Americans in the electoral process. We distributed 70,000 election guides to about 10 states nationwide, phonebanked in New York, went door to door in Chicago, and conducted voting seminars in Los Angeles, among many other efforts.  The exit poll completes the circle, helping us to evaluate our work.”

“Since the beginning of 2004, the affiliates registered 5,500 Korean American voters in total.  With about one third of those surveyed first time voters, we know we have made significant ground in empowering more Korean Americans with the right to vote. We also found that those heading out to the polls were mostly middle aged or slightly older. This information will help better shape our ongoing civic participation and voter education work,” Kent Chaegu Lee, executive director of KRCC said.

“This election is only a beginning for Korean Americans to link voting with issues that are important to them.  Based on the preliminary findings alone, we see the breadth and depth of issues that Korean Americans find important. The Korean American community is realizing that their vote is a chance to make these issues heard,” stated Yu Soung Mun, executive director of YKASEC.

Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of KRC, spoke of the assistance provided to voters on November 2: “Voters on Election Day have always run into problems. For this reason, the affiliate organizations worked throughout Election Day acting as exit poll takers, running a voter assistance hotline, giving rides to poll sites for voters who need transportation, and acting as poll monitors.