National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Urges Supreme Court to Preserve Equal Representation in “One Person, One Vote” Case

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEC. 8, 2015

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

 (202) 706-6768;

 

mary@ncapaonline.org

   

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Urges Supreme Court to Preserve Equal Representation in “One Person, One Vote” Case

This morning, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Evenwel v. Abbott, a case that will decide whether everyone in America--regardless of whether they are registered or eligible to vote--will be entitled to equal representation, known as the “one person, one vote” principle.

Most states create legislative districts based on total population. However, the appellants in this case are seeking to draw districts based on the population of eligible or registered voters. In other words, if districts were based on eligible voters, children under the age of 18 and legal permanent residents, among others, would not receive representation  In fact, more than 45% of the Asian American population and nearly 40% of the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population would be excluded. If redistricting were limited to registered voters, millions of additional AANHPIs nationwide would be disenfranchised because our rate of voter registration is approximately 37%. NCAPA member Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC has prepared a fact sheet on this case.

“We urge the Supreme Court to uphold the ‘one person, one vote’ principle and not deny millions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders the right to representation,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Every individual counts in our nation’s democratic process. The lives of everyone in the United States--including children and legal permanent residents--are affected by government policies and therefore deserve representation.”

Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, which co-chairs the NCAPA Civil Rights Committee said, “Historically, Asian Americans have been excluded from this country’s political process. As a community of newer Americans, language barriers, unfamiliarity with the voting process, coupled with ongoing voting discrimination practices, has led to significantly lower voter participation rates. But if the U.S. Supreme Court alters the well-established definition of 'one person, one vote' in Evenwel, it could further exacerbate their exclusion from the political process."

Lakshmi Sridaran, director of national policy and advocacy at South Asian Americans Leading Together, which co-chairs the NCAPA Civil Rights Committee said, "Evenwel threatens to negatively impact the South Asian American community, which has dramatically increased in size in recent years in states like Texas. Discriminatory practices at the polls already discourage our communities from voting, which in turn prevents us from fully engaging in the democratic process and electing leaders that represent our values. The Supreme Court must make the right decision to ensure all people of color are equally represented."

In September, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and several other organizations filed an amicus brief in this case. The following nine NCAPA organizations were included as participating member organizations of LCCHR: Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance; Japanese American Citizens League; National CAPACD; National Federation of Filipino American Associations; National Korean American Service & Education Consortium; OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates; Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund; South Asian Americans Leading Together; and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.


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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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