National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Urges Secretaries of State to Preserve Voting Rights

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCT. 26, 2016

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

 (202) 706-6768;

 

mary@ncapaonline.org

   

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Urges Secretaries of State to Preserve Voting Rights

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and six of its member organizations joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in sending letters urging Secretaries of State to preserve voting rights. This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Letters were also sent to election officials in states where we have seen voter suppression: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Data from NCAPA member APIAVote shows that these states also are among those with the fastest-growing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) electorate.

“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and more needs to be done to preserve this right for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and all citizens,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “AAPIs may face challenges at the polls, including a lack of ballot language assistance for those with Limited English Proficiency, or even discrimination, such as being asked to prove their citizenship. Without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, NCAPA and other AAPI leaders have joined this broad coalition in urging each state to ensure that we can exercise our fundamental right to vote.”

"Asian Americans have benefited from the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Unfortunately, it has been weakened by the 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision and this is the first election voters face without the full protections of the law,” said Terry Ao Minnis, Director of Census and Voting Programs, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “As a result of the decision, we’ve seen an increase in voter suppression tactics, which are a threat to our democratic right to vote. Discrimination, including racial discrimination, still exists at the polls, and Advancing Justice | AAJC is working to eliminate barriers to voting and supports efforts to restore the Voting Rights Act."

"As Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to be the fastest-growing populations in the U.S., and one of the fastest growing electorates, we have the power to shape and influence this important election,” said APIAVote Executive Director Christine Chen. “However, without full protections of the Voting Rights Act coupled with the growing voter suppression efforts happening across the country, AAPI communities will face even greater challenges and obstacles to exercising their right to vote. Not only is the restoration of the Voting Rights Act vital in protecting our democracy, it ensures all of our communities—from those that are limited English proficient to those voting for the first time—are able to have their voices heard.”

The following NCAPA member organizations signed the letters: Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund (SALDEF).

For more about Asian American voting rights, read NCAPA member Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC’s report on 50 years of the Voting Rights Act from an Asian American perspective.

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Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.

 


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