OC Korean American voter turnout increased twofold since June

November 7, 2014
Korean Americans vote at a Koreatown location in Los Angeles Tuesday. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

Korean Americans vote at a Koreatown location in Los Angeles Tuesday. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

The number of Orange County Korean American voters who participated in Tuesday’s general elections increased about twofold since June primary elections.

According to an Orange County Registrar of Voters official, the Korean American vote was heaviest in two regions — the 65th District, which includes Fullerton, Buena Park, Anaheim and La Palma and which carried Republican candidate Young Kim to a seat in the State Assembly Tuesday, and Irvine, in which Mayor Choi Seok-ho successfully ran for re-election.

A report of voters by ethnicity will be released near the end of this month, but it looks like the Korean American vote is expected to be similar to the overall voter percentage in the county, at about 45 percent, the official said.

“We called the individual homes of registered Korean American voters on Monday night to encourage them to vote,” a source at Michelle Park Steel’s camp said. Steel, a Republican, saw victory Tuesday for the 2nd District seat for Orange County Supervisor.

Twenty-one percent of registered Korean American voters in California participated in the June primaries, according to Political Data.

In Orange County, that percentage was 22 for Korean Americans and 24 for all Orange County voters, the official said.

The increase was not reflected in overall California voter turnout, however, which plummeted in this election to an all-time low 46.1 percent, according to Field Poll Thursday.

Eighteen Korean Americans out of 26 candidates across the U.S. clinched seats Tuesday.

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