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Year in review: Historic wins for AAPI in local elections, redistricting plans loom over future candidates

local government
  • Many Asian Americans have made history in 2021 by gaining seats in local government elections.
  • Redistricting plans in many parts of the U.S., however, threaten Asian candidates running in upcoming elections by dividing Asian community voting blocs.

Over the last few months, an unprecedented number of Asian Americans have won positions in local government across the country. At the same time, statewide draft maps have proposed the division of Asian-majority communities, threatening Asians running for elected positions in future elections.

Historic wins

Three Asian Americans were elected the first mayor of Asian descent in their cities in November. Bruce Harrell, a 63-year-old former attorney, became the second Black and first Asian mayor in Seattle’s history. Aftab Pureval, a 39-year-old Indian Tibetan lawyer, became the first Asian American mayor of Cincinnati. In Boston, City Councilor Michelle Wu, 36, became the first woman and first person of color to be elected mayor.

Indian Candidate Sobs on TV Because He Only Got 5 Votes, But 9 Family Members Voted

An independent candidate for the Indian general election broke down in tears on live television after learning that he, at the time, believed he only received five votes at the booth where his family of nine cast their ballots.

Neetu Shutteran Wala, who contended for his civic seat in Jalandhar, Punjab, alleged that the voting machines had been manipulated against his favor.