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OCA Applauds Introduction of the Voting Rights Advancement Act

Thursday, June 25, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nick Lee
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25 June 2015


CONTACT:  Michael W. Kwan | National President


202 223 5500 |


WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates applauds the introduction of the Voting Rights Advancement Act by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Chris Coons (D-DE) in the Senate, and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA-27), John Lewis (D-GA-5), Terri Sewell (D-AL-7), and Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38).


Yesterday, several members of the Democratic caucus filed legislation called the Voting Rights Advancement Act that would reverse key elements of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder in 2013. That ruling eliminated the requirement that certain states with histories of violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act obtain approval before any changes to laws could be implemented to ensure their compliance with federal protections. As a result of this ruling, many of those states that had previously violated the voting rights of its citizens passed discriminatory voter ID laws to suppress the minority vote, including many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, often at the 11th hour before an election.  Without time to challenge the laws discriminatory effect, communities of color were marginalized and left virtually voiceless in the democratic process.


“We give our highest praise to the Senators and Members of Congress that are lending their support to this legislation,” said Ken Lee, OCA Chief Executive Officer. “The Shelby decision removing the preclearance obligation has opened the door to strict Voter ID laws that are inherently racist and discriminatory. Data has shown that these laws most heavily impact low-income, senior, young, limited English proficient, and immigrant communities, all of which have significant representation within the larger Asian American and Pacific Islander community. These laws are obviously made with the intent to disenfranchise vulnerable voters that may not have experience with civic participation, and are rooted in baseless and statistically insignificant claims of fraud.”


“Equal voting rights are the cornerstone of our democracy and are non-negotiable,” concluded Lee. “On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches and on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, we cannot let the lifeblood of our system of government to be drained by allowing further discriminatory legislation to silence our communities.”


OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).



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