Voters in Georgia's Gwinnett County, whose population is 11% Asian American/Pacific Islander, waving Biden-Harris campaign signs at the entrance to a polling station on November 3. Photo: AFP/Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Ponder this astonishing statistic: Asian American voters in Georgia – the state that is scheduled to determine control of the US Senate in January 5 runoff voting – nearly doubled their turnout in the 2020 presidential election.

When compared with the 2016 election, 91% more AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islanders) cast ballots in the state this time.

They accounted for about 2.7% – 135,000 or so – of nearly five million votes cast.

Assuming that Georgia AAPI voters went for Biden roughly in proportion to his national support level from the group, as calculated by NBC-TV from exit polls on November 3, that same astonishing statistic represents more than enough votes to account for Biden’s 12,000-some victory margin.

“We now have the complete, individual-level history of who cast a ballot in this election,” says number cruncher Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart and adjunct lecturer at Howard University in Washington DC.

“So we are able to assess how the composition of the electorate likely played a role.”

Diverse electorate

It wasn’t only Asian Americans whose turnout was up, Bonier says.

“Thanks to a combination of high electoral intensity and significant expansion of voting access, turnout surged largely across the board in Georgia, though not by equal measures. The biggest surges in turnout came from voters of color, and younger voters.”

Source: Tom Bonier

“Latino turnout grew by 72%,” Bonier says. “Turnout among Black voters increased by 20%, while white turnout saw the slowest growth, at 16%.”

Source: Tom Bonier

What remains to be seen, of course, is who will win the two Senate runoffs. If Asian Americans need further incentive to turn out again, there’s the fact that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, one of their own, as the constitutionally proclaimed president of the Senate would be the tie-breaking vote turning the body Democratic in case the Democrats should win both seats for a 50-50 tie.