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OCA Deeply Concerned by Supreme Court's Decision in Shelby County v. Holder

Wednesday, June 26, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kham Moua
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OCA Deeply Concerned by Supreme Court's Decision in Shelby County v. Holder


26 June 2013


Tom Hayashi | Executive Director

202 223 5500 |

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is deeply concerned by the United States Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

In the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Section 4 of the VRA is unconstitutional. The majority opinion holds that the formula found in Section 4 is no longer necessary, citing a large increase in voter turnout among African Americans in states subjected to federal scrutiny by the Department of Justice under Section 5. The formula has protected the APA and other historically disenfranchised communities from further voter suppression.

"The Voting Rights Act has protected minority groups from voter suppression efforts in states with a long history of explicit discrimination against people of color and has also increased voter registration and turnout among APA and other politically oppressed groups,” says Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director, "However, there is still a long way to go before we can say that the standard put in place by Section 4 is no longer necessary. This decision is an incredible setback to civil rights and the ability of the APA community to fully engage in the civic process.”

In 2012, both Florida and Texas reportedly identified and purged hundreds of thousands of ineligible voters using lists complied from outdated and inaccurate data. Although the lists were intended to target only ineligible voters, hundreds of eligible individuals were also removed. The process to reregister is a burden on the APA and other minority communities due to language barriers, socioeconomic disparities, and lack of access to services, among many others issues. And the fact that these practices continued despite the eligible voters disenfranchised through these purges reveals their discriminatory nature. These and other attacks on voting rights are reasons why declaring Section 4 unconstitutional is detrimental to civil rights and the APA community.

"Removing Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act could lead to even more oppressive voting rights efforts in states with a history of racial discrimination beyond voter purges and voter identification laws,” says Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President, "Many Asian Pacific Americans do not have the necessary documents or the capacity to obtain these documents. This decision is a great loss for our community.”

OCA is remains committed to protecting the civil rights of the APA community. We encourage our members of Congress to stand with us and create a new formula that continues to protect and increase voter turnout amongst historically disenfranchised communities.

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1322 18th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
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