Never before have Chinese Americans been on the California ballot for governor, state controller, state treasurer, U.S. Congress, state Senate and state Assembly.
At a news conference Friday at a Monterey Park dim sum restaurant, U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, communicated to Chinese Americans in the San Gabriel Valley the importance of voting. She also demonstrated how to vote by mail.
Ballots were delivered to households across the county this week. Officials estimate that between one-half and two-thirds of voters will cast their ballots by mail.
“We know how precious the vote is,” Chu said, referring to the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese people living in the U.S. from voting for 60 years. “Now is the time to exercise this incredibly important privilege.”
Chu is running for re-election. In 2009, she was the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress. The other Chinese Americans on the ballot are John Chiang, who would be the first Chinese American governor if he wins; Betty Yee, who is running for re-election as state controller; Fiona Ma, who is running for state treasurer; Mike Eng, who is running for state Senate; and Ed Chau who is running for re-election in the state Assembly.
Joining Chu, Eng and Chau at the news conference were Monterey Park City Councilman Hans Liang and Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan.
Eng, who is married to Chu, said this race is the most difficult he’s had in his nine elections. He is a Los Angeles Community College trustee, previously served in the state Assembly and was a Monterey Park city councilman.
“This is the most important election,” he said, noting that more Chinese Americans and immigrants have registered to vote by mail than ever before.
Eng appealed to the Chinese community’s sense of family by saying that if people don’t vote, then their children and grandchildren will follow their example and voter turnout will decline among the next generation.
Here are the steps that Chu demonstrated when voting by mail:
- Open the ballot book and look for the candidates that you want to vote for.
- Note the number that corresponds to each candidate.
- The ballot is full of numbers. With black or blue ink, fill in the bubble that corresponds to the number for each candidate. Fill in the bubble in its entirety.
- Place the completed ballot in the secrecy sleeve.
- Put the sleeve in the envelope provided.
- Seal the envelope.
- You must sign the back of the envelope (or your vote won’t be counted).
- Also, print the date and your address on the envelope.
- Put a stamp on the envelope.
- Put the envelope in the mailbox.
“It’s as easy as that,” Chu said.
She encouraged the public to vote now rather than wait until the June 5 primary.