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From marginalized to margin of victory: The Indian American voter in Georgia

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Georgia State Senate Runoff

ATLANTA (Diya TV) — The Georgia Senate runoff has become the nation’s most important race as the balance of power in the U.S. Senate is in the hands of the Georgia voters. And while political pundits continue to speculate on national TV, one aspect that hasn’t received much attention is the impact of the Asian American voter.

“You can’t tell the suburban vote story without telling the Asian American vote story,”

IMPACT Executive Director Neil Makhija

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in Georgia (and nationally), and Indian Americans are the largest Asian American group in Georgia. There are an estimated 238,000 eligible AAPI voters in Georgia, a voting block that is coming into its own according to Neil Makhija, the Executive Director for IMPACT, an Indian American advocacy and political action committee.

“The Democratic Party couldn’t win the Presidency or the Senate without Asian Americans,” said Makhija. “In November, South Asian and Asian American voters were the critical difference between victory and defeat in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. The numbers are striking: Asian Americans increased turnout more than any other demographic, nearly doubling in Georgia. Asian Americans are becoming a core constituency of the Democratic Party, but they can’t be taken for granted.”

A recent poll conducted by IMPACT, shows the general eligible voting population in Georgia grew 9% between 2012 and 2018, however the Indian American voting population grew by 231%.

This year, Georgia saw a 91 percent increase in AAPI voter turnout over 2016, according to an analysis done by the Democratic firm Target­Smart, and exit polls showed Asian American voters preferred Vice President Joe Biden to President Trump by a 2 to 1 margin. 

An additional 42,000 AAPI voters voted in 2020 over 2016 and more than 30,000 AAPI voters voted for the first time ever. Biden won Georgia by just over 14,000 votes. Gwinnett County, located outside of Atlanta, was once a conservative stronghold. It’s now home to the state’s largest AAPI population and more than 30,000 AAPI voters cast their ballots early there this year compared with 9,500 in 2016.

Jennifer Baik, Communications & Policy Associate at APIA Vote says, “The AAPI vote will definitely be a deciding factor in the Georgia runoff races. According to new data from Pew Research Center, roughly 76,000 new voters have registered between October 5th and December 7th, and by the October 5th deadline in 2020, there were a total of 1,88,000 newly registered voters this year.”

IMPACT has launched a historic $2.5 million campaign to turnout AAPI voters in Georgia ahead of the January Senate runoffs.

“We are poised to play a critical role in January for the Georgia Senate runoff races,” Makhija continued. “IMPACT’s historic investment over the remaining weeks of the campaign will harness this emerging power of South Asian and Asian American voters to help deliver Georgia and control of the U.S. Senate for Democrats. This election can play a transformative role for the Biden-Harris Administration and for our country, and Asian Americans realize that — which is why they’re already turning in their ballots in record numbers.”

IMPACT’s new Georgia campaign follows its $10 million campaign in November focused on targeting Asian American voters in Pennsylvania and Arizona, the largest-ever effort to target South Asian voters. 

APIA Vote, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta and the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) have been working closely on the ground to activate AAPI voters and get out the vote.  Their efforts to reach Asian American voters include mailers in English, Korean, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese

Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood, Director at the Asian American Advocacy Fund, and a Gwinnett County native says their group is doing all it can to mobilize the AAPI voters, by knocking on doors, connecting on local issues and doing in-language outreach.

The outreach is coming from both sides. In 2016, Trump became the first Presidential candidate in U.S. history to do TV ad campaigns targeting Indian Americans & Hindu Americans. In this election cycle, we’ve seen the both Republicans & the Democrats make outreach to the Indian American community via digital & TV ad campaigns, in addition to grassroots efforts.

Leoffler’s campaign has launched TV ad campaigns, targeting Indian Americans & the GOP has recruited fromer U.S Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who is a key surrogate courting voters to vote for Senators Leoffler & Purdue.

APIA Vote says there was 310% increase in 2020 early voting compared to 2016. Baik adds, “if anything, the November elections have solidified AAPI voters as the margin of victory.”

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Sikh community center in Seattle area burglarized & vandalized

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Seattle-area Sikh center burglarized, vandalized | Diya TV News

FEDERAL WAY (Diya TV) — Authorities including the FBI in Washington State are looking for the vandal who trashed a Sikh community center and it’s being investigated as a possible hate crime. Police say surveillance video shows a man breaking into the Khalsa Gurmat Center in Federal Way.  The main prayer area was destroyed and several tv’s and computers were also stolen.

The US will reopen in November to air travelers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, easing tough pandemic-related restrictions that started early last year.  The U.S. restrictions have barred travelers from most of the world including tens of thousands of foreign nationals with relatives or business links in the United States.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is denying he made a secret deal to ban fact checking President Trump on the social media platform to avoid government regulations. A new biography on venture capitalist Peter Thiel says Zuckerberg worked with Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner on this quid pro quo.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Modi to face protests on visit to DC, NY

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Modi to face protests on visit to DC, NY | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — India’s Ministry of External Affairs called out Pakistan backed groups threatening to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi “sleepless nights” during his visit to the U.S. next week. The group Sikhs for Justice has planned protests from Washington to New York as the PM visits the U.S. for the first time under the Biden administration.

18 year old Nidhi Rana and 21 year old  Ayush Rana were together when their car began floating toward a spot where the water flows underground toward the river. A massive search was soon launched for the pair and continued for several days.

Vibhav Mittal is now the first Indian American judge on the Superior Court of  Orange County California.  During his ten years as a federal prosecutor, Judge Mittal tried 13 criminal trials to verdict.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Hudson: 55 Kashmiri & Khalistani groups operate in the US

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Hudson: 55 Kashmiri & Khalistani groups operate in the US | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — The Hudson Institute assembled experts to evaluate fifty-five Kashmiri and Khalistani groups operating within the US. The institute is now recommending a deep dive into the possibility that these groups received funding, support and military training from Pakistan along with terrorist groups in India.

Top American lawmakers paid tributes as they remembered Sikh American Balbir Singh Sodhi,  who was the first victim of a hate crime following the 9/11 terror attacks.  He was murdered outside the Arizona gas station he owned, by a man who said he wanted to “go out and shoot some towel-heads. ”

Compass Digital Acquisition filed for a $200 million IPO. The technology-focused SPAC is targeting software and services companies. Compass is led by Chairman and CEO Abid Neemuchwala, former CEO of IT services firm Wipro.

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