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23-Year-Old Facilitated Increased Election Participation By Sikh-Americans:
’Sikhs Out To Vote’





To ensure maximum participation of Sikhs in the US presidential elections that concluded on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, a Sikh-American woman played a crucial role by starting an organisation called “Sikhs Out to Vote”.

Started in July 2016, ‘Sikhs Out to Vote’ (SOV) is a non-partisan effort to increase political engagement in the Sikh-American community.

Sandeep Kaur Dhaliwal said that through partnerships with an Asian-American political engagement group and Sikhs civil rights groups, they held 12-voter registration/voter education events at gurdwaras in eight states across the United States.

“With the rise in hate crimes against Sikhs, mostly through mistaken identity, and the rhetoric used in this election campaigns, I thought it was essential for the community to gain more political power. We had our first event at the anniversary commemoration of the shooting that took place in Oak Creek gurdwara in 2012, where a white supremacist gunman killed six people,” she said.

Sandeep Kaur explained that based on the Electoral College system in the US, the eight states her group chose to have events were all swing states where neither candidate has overwhelming support to secure that particular state’s Electoral College.

“So the Sikh-American vote in those states could play a more influential role in determining this election”, she said.

The 23-year old said while the institutionalisation of Sikh-American political power in the country was limited, things had improved considerably.

“While Sikhs are becoming more and more proactive in the political sphere in the country, we like to see the Sikh community being an influential group in Washington,” she said.

SOV held events in Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia with a total of 12 events in eight states. Roughly, 40 volunteers engaged with over 1,500 Sikh-Americans.

“There is limited infrastructure in place within the Sikh-American community to engage politically comparative to other established communities such as Jewish Americans or Catholic Americans because we are a newer and smaller community, so a foundation of political engagement is still being built,” said Sandeep. 

[Courtesy: Tribune. Edited for]
November 10, 2016

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’Sikhs Out To Vote’ "

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