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The following is a call to the community by APACEvotes:

Don’t be fooled into thinking the presidential election is far off. The truth is that it’s been running for some time. As a voter, it’s important to get involved now in order to make your voice heard. Although poll numbers suggest who the frontrunners are in the race for the White House, the numbers that really count are votes cast by delegates who attend the 2016 national conventions. The lucky ones who make it to the Democratic or Republican conventions will cast their votes for candidates who will represent their political party in the presidential election to be held on November 8, 2016. The Democratic and Republican nominations for president will be determined by whichever candidate receives the largest number of awarded delegates from state caucuses and primary elections.

Community activist Sharon Maeda, upon receiving the Organization for Chinese Americans Golden Circle Award, recently remarked about the importance of the participation of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in politics, particularly presidential politics. She noted that action by every single one of us is needed now perhaps more than any other time in this country’s history. She said, “There are candidates for president of the United States wanting to shut our borders and remove all Muslims—sound familiar? Shades of the 1886 expulsion of Chinese right here in Seattle. Just as insidious are the attempts to eliminate Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, and the U.S. Postal Service, deny climate change, kill young African American and Latino youth for walking down the street, and expanding the prison industrial complex, making residents pay for lead-poisoned water.”

APACEvotes is an organization dedicated to increasing the civic and political engagement of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Our members work diligently to increase the number of AAPIs in our community who become registered voters and turn out to vote in local, state, and national elections. Because we believe AAPIs have much to offer in this presidential election year, we have outlined important information about the delegate selection process for both political parties. Mark your calendars and read up on candidates. If you want your voice to matter, you’re going to have to do your part and show up to speak up.

Democratic Party Delegate Selection Process

Rules for electing delegates to the Democratic National Convention are set by the Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan. Washington State Democrats will send 119 delegates to the Convention of which 101 delegates and alternates will be selected through the caucus and convention process and an additional eighteen delegates will be party leaders and elected officials.

The Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan of the Washington State Democratic Party includes the following language:

“In order to encourage full participation by all Democrats in the delegate selection process and in all Party affairs, the Washington State Democratic Party has adopted and will implement programs with specific goals and timetables for African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and women. To further encourage full participation in the process, the Washington State Democratic Party has established goals and timetables for other underrepresented groups, including LGBT Americans, people with disabilities and youth. Additionally, every effort will be made to include senior citizens, new citizens eligible to vote, and a diversity of cultural, religious, and social backgrounds in the delegation.”

The Plan includes four steps in the delegate selection process:

• Precinct Caucuses on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

Voters attend precinct caucuses to register their presidential preference. The first stage of the delegate selection process will be the election of delegates and alternates to attend legislative district caucuses and county conventions. Most caucuses are held in nearby schools or churches. As voters sign in they must state they are Democrats, registered voters and choose their presidential preference or be uncommitted. Each candidate for president shall be awarded a proportion of delegates that corresponds with their percentage of support.

• Legislative District Caucuses on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.

Delegates and alternates elected at precinct caucuses attend legislative district caucuses to elect delegates and alternates for congressional district caucuses and the State Convention.

• County Conventions on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.

Delegates and alternates selected at precinct caucuses attend county conventions where resolutions and development of the Washington State party platform begins.

• Congressional District Caucuses on Saturday, May 21, 2016.

Voters elected at legislative district caucuses attend congressional district caucuses to elect 67 delegates (statewide) to attend the National Convention. In King County, congressional district caucuses in the 1st and 9th districts will each elect 7 delegates and the 7th district will elect 12 delegates. Those wishing to become delegates must submit a Statement of Candidacy to the State Party by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 14. Copies of the Statement of Candidacy are available on the Democratic Party’s website. Each congressional district caucus also elects one presidential elector and one alternate.

• State Convention on Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19.

Delegates and alternates elected at legislative district caucuses may also attend the State Convention where additional National Convention delegates and alternates will be elected by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee. These will include 12 pledged party leaders and elected officials, 22 delegates, and 7 alternates. Eighteen unpledged party leaders and elected officials will be automatic delegates. Voters hoping to be considered for additional delegate or alternate positions must submit a Statement of Candidacy to the State Party by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 10.

The Convention will also adopt a Washington State party platform, resolutions and presidential electors.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders are candidates for the Democratic nomination. The candidate who receives at least 2,382 votes from the 4,762 delegates present at the Convention will become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. The National Convention will be held in Philadelphia, PA from July 25 through July 28, 2016.

Statements of Candidacy, information about voter’s precincts and caucus and convention dates, times and locations are available at: the State Democratic Party’s website at www.wademocrats.org and the King County Democratic Party’s website at www.kcdems.org.

Republican Party Delegate Selection Process

The presidential delegate selection process used by the Washington State Republican Party differs from the procedure used by the Democrats. The Party will hold its State Convention at the Trac Center in Pasco, Washington from May 19 to 21, 2016, then hold a state Presidential Primary on May 24 to determine the allocation of delegates for presidential candidates at the Republican National Convention. Delegates to the National Convention from Washington State are bound to presidential contenders based on voting results in that Primary. Voters will receive ballots in the mail which can be dropped in ballot boxes or mailed.

Voters who attend precinct caucuses on February 20, county conventions and legislative district caucuses in March and April and conventions in May will select individuals who will fill seats within the Washington State delegation at the National Convention in Cleveland. Delegates will be allocated proportionate to the statewide primary vote—e.g. if a candidate receives a majority of primary votes within the congressional district, the candidate will receive all three delegates. Delegates selected at legislative district caucuses will attend the King County convention on April 16 to discuss platform issues and meet candidates. Information about dates, times, and locations of the caucuses, county conventions, and the State Convention can be found on the King County Republican Party’s website at www.kcgop.org.

The State delegation will include 47 individuals including three from each congressional district, 11 at-large delegates, three party leaders, the National Committeeman, the National Committeewoman, and the Chair of the Washington State Republican Party.

The pool of Republican candidates running for the presidential nomination is huge. Many have dropped out of the race. Those currently running include businessman Donald Trump, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, former governor Jeb Bush, Gov. John Kasich, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. The Republican nominee will be determined by the candidate who receives the largest number of awarded state delegates at the Republican National Convention to be held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18 to 21, 2016. A total of 2,472 delegates will vote for the next Republican nominee for president. To win the nomination, a candidate must collect 1,237 delegate votes.

Information about caucus and convention dates, times, and locations are available at the State Republican Party’s website at www.wsrp.org and the King County Republican Party’s website at www.kcgop.org.

Arlene Oki
Board Member, APACEvotes
Bao-Tram Do
President, APACEvotes
(Special thanks to Briana Eng)

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