Election 2020

How South Asian Voters Shaped the 2020 Election

Kiran Misra
8 min readNov 8, 2020


A woman wearing face mask holds a sign that says “desis for Biden Harris.”
A supporter holds a sign while listening to Kamala Harris, Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, speaks at a “Get Out The Vote” rally at Morehouse College on October 23, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images

South Asian Americans make up around 2% of the American population and comprise an even smaller percent of registered voters in the United States. But you wouldn’t know it from the outsized effort candidates made to target the desi vote this election cycle.

For the first time in United States history, political analysts projected that South Asian Americans would be a key factor that tipped not only the presidential vote in key swing states, but also electoral decisions in local races nationwide. Now that a president-elect and the vice president-elect have been decided, the role the South Asian American vote played in this historic election is clear.

Here’s why:

  • In no small part due to the growing number of South Asian Americans working on political campaigns across the country, the 2020 election cycle saw a record number of advertisements and candidate pitches targeted directly to segments of the South Asian American population, followed by soaring Asian American voter turnout.
  • A record-breaking number of South Asian candidates ran for office this cycle. From Nithya Raman (D), who made waves in Los Angeles with her progressive campaign for city council, to Sri Kulkarni (D), who hoped to turn Texas blue by gaining a seat in the U.S. House…