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Nepalese Americans take keen interest in US polls, 26 thousand Nepalese eligible to vote in Nov

Most tilt towards Democrats; favor Clinton over Trump

By Kishor Panthi, NEW YORK: As the United States is gearing up for the November 8 elections to choose its 45th president, newly emerging Nepalese American community has begun to take keen interest in the polls.

The Nepalese Americans make up only a small number of US immigrant population and their political activity does not significantly influence the relations between Nepal the United States. However, a large number of Nepalese actively participated in the primary elections held from February through June.

Most of the Nepalese Americans were found to be in favor of the Democratic Party. However, the Republican primaries also drew Nepalese Republican enthusiasts. The Nepalese who supported the Democrats were found divided between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

A large share of the Nepalese Americans liked Sanders’ Agenda saying that his agenda could introduce paradigm change compared to Clinton’s. A significant number of Nepalese Americans showed their overwhelming support for Clinton’s agenda though many think that Hillary’s administration will just be a continuation of Obama.

The results of the primary elections and caucuses held from February through June have affirmed that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will replace Obama in November. Obama’s eight-year tenure will officially end when the new president is sworn in on January 20. The American voters will also elect their 48th Vice President to replace Joe Biden.

Now that Clinton’s candidacy is almost certain from the Democrat Party, Nepalese Americans have openly come forward in her support. All Nepalese Americans who have voting rights are now drawing their attention towards the final show-down for November 8 elections.

Over 26 thousand Nepalese voters
In the US, citizens must be 18 years old in order to vote in the Presidential election (17 in some states).
A US government statistics shows that there are around 26 thousand Nepalese Americans who meet the above criteria. Almost all of the Nepali American citizens are eager to vote in the presidential election.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, around 26 thousand Nepalese have obtained US citizenship through naturalization. This means the number does not include those who were born in the US.
A total of 21,174 Nepalese Americans had obtained US citizenship and secured their voting rights as of 2014. A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data shows that some five thousand more Nepalese immigrants have obtained US citizenship after 2014.
It can be calculated that the number of Americans with Nepalese ancestry would likely to have significant share on the voting if we add the number of American-born Nepalese to the previously stated 26,000.

Around three thousand Nepalese obtained US citizenship among the total migrant number of little over seven hundred thousand who obtained the US citizenship in 2015.
In the first six months of this year, nearly two thousand more Nepalese have obtained the US citizenship, and they are eligible to vote in the presidential elections.

Citizenship data at a glance
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), only 2,616 Nepalese had succeeded in obtaining the US citizenship till 1990.
As many as 37 Nepalese had obtained the US citizenship in the year 1990 alone.
In 1989, 35 Nepalese had obtained the citizenship, so did 31 in 1988 and 22 in 1987.

The number started increasing from 1991 when 56 got the citizenship, while in the year 1992, some 44 Nepalese became naturalized American citizens. Similarly, the USCIS data shows that 46 Nepalese in 1993, 70 in 1994, 60 in 1995, 119 in 1996, 78 in 1997, and 82 in 1998 secured the US citizenship. As many as 143 Nepalese in 1999, 205 in 2001, 247 in 2002, 318 in 2003 and 408 in the year 2004 obtained the US citizenship.

The USCIS data further shows that 417 in the year 2005, 575 in 2006, 638 in 2007, 953 in 2008, 1632 in 2009, 2185 in 2010 and 2,235 in 2011 were able to get the US citizenship.

Some 2,448 Nepalese obtained the American citizenship in 2012 while 2,711 received the citizenship in 2013 alone, and 2888 Nepalese were able to secure the US citizenship in 2014. Five thousand Nepalese obtained US citizenship last year.

New York tops the list
Of the total Nepalese Americans having voting rights, New York alone has harbored 15 percent of them.
Till 2001, there were about 500 Nepalese with voting rights in New York among the 3,519 US citizenship recipients.

In 2002, only 13 Nepalese obtained US citizenship in New York as stated by the US Homeland Security. The number of Nepalese getting the US citizenship from New York rose to 22 in 2003 and 32 in the year 2004. After that the number of Nepalese getting the US citizenship decreased in New York as only 24 obtained the Citizenship in 2005. In the year 2006, 49 Nepalese immigrants in New York secured the US citizenship, and the number was 49 in 2007 and it was 63 in the year 2008. While some 188 Nepalese in New York were successful in receiving the US citizenship in 2009, as many as 266 Nepalese got the US citizenship in 2010.

Nepalese population keeps growing
The population of Nepalese Americans is increasing steadily every year. The number of Nepalese who obtained US citizenship in New York in 2012 was 331, and it went up to 425 in 2013 and 362 in 2014.
Since October 2014, the number of Nepalese obtaining US citizenship from New York is over Five Hundred.

250 million voters
Some 250 million Americans are eligible to vote in this year’s Presidential elections. It has been estimated that more than 50 percent of the total eligible voters will exercise their franchise. Data of the presidential elections in the past shows that around half of the eligible voters cast their ballots.

In 2012, there were little over 235 eligible voters but 129 million plus voters voted. Obama had received nearly 61 million popular votes against his rival Mitt Romney’s nearly 6.09 million.
In the 2012 Presidential elections, the turnout was only 54.9 percent of the total eligible voters.
The citizens of the United States who are registered to vote cast ballots for a set of members of the U.S. Electoral College, known as electors.
These electors then in turn cast direct votes, known as electoral votes, for President and the Vice President.
Electors already make public whom they vote.
The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes for President or Vice President is then elected to that office.
If no candidate receives an absolute majority for President, the House of Representatives chooses the President; if no one receives a majority for Vice President, then the Senate chooses the Vice President.
At least 270 electoral votes are required of the 538 electoral votes to win the election.
Barack Obama had received 332 electoral votes in the 2012 Presidential election while Mitt Romney had received 206 electoral votes.
Obama, in the 2008 elections, had received 365 electoral votes and his then rival John McCain had received just 173 votes.
Obama had lost his popularity in the 2012 elections.

Published Date: Friday, July 1st, 2016 | 12:18 PM

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