New immigrants accounted for at least one-third of the increase in the number of New York City voters since 2004, while the number of Irish, Italian and Jewish voters, who together represent the traditional core of the city’s political establishment, decreased slightly, according to an analysis of voter registration records.
The transformation of the voter rolls portends a momentous shift in the ethnic makeup of the city’s electorate that threatens to upend the balance of power that has governed local politics for decades.
Steven Choi, program director at an immigrant advocacy group, Empowering the Korean American Community, based in Flushing, Queens, said: “For us, the real question has been, ‘How do we, as immigrants, translate our demographic power into political power?’ But we see a real opportunity next year to upset the status quo.”
Upheaval Among New York’s Voting Blocs
Political campaigns in New York have historically targeted a small yet reliable class of voters — less diverse than the city’s overall population — who regularly participate in primaries. And even though candidates regularly appear at parades and other events organized by the city’s many ethnic groups, this kind of outreach is considered largely symbolic by political consultants.