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The bar against citizenship began with the Naturalization Act of 1870, which initially applied only to Chinese immigrants.

These long-standing barriers delayed most Asian immigrants in gaining the right to vote, and they may well have shaped some Asian Americans’ voting habits during the decades that followed.

The existing record of Asian American voting preferences provides some evidence to the contrary.

Exit polls from the 2008, 2012, and 2016 elections show that most Asian Americans who voted did so in support of Democratic candidates.

(Three-quarters of Asian Americans who cast votes in the 2012 Presidential election chose Obama, for instance.)

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