AALDEF brief demonstrates how Asian Americans continue to face voting discrimination
New York, NY — Today, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 35-year old national civil rights organization, filed an amicus “friend of the court” brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 41 Asian American groups, urging the Court to uphold the constitutionality of the enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder. AALDEF’s pro bono counsel is Proskauer Rose LLP.
Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney said, “Asian Americans have continued to face discriminatory obstacles in exercising their right to vote. The Supreme Court should uphold the Voting Rights Act.”
The enforcement provision, known as “Section 5,” requires jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination to get approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before implementing changes in voting procedures and practices, in order to ensure that the changes will not make it more difficult for racial and ethnic minorities to exercise their right to vote. The lower court upheld the provision.
AALDEF’s amicus brief cites examples of how Section 5 has protected Asian American voters with regard to school board elections, poll site changes, and compliance with Section 203, the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The brief details how Section 5 was used to ensure fully-translated ballots and language assistance at more polling places in growing Asian American neighborhoods. Many of these examples are from New York City, in which three counties–New York, Kings and Bronx–are covered under Section 5.
Last week, AALDEF presented Congress with a new report detailing voter problems faced by Asian Americans in eleven states and the District of Columbia in the November 2008 Presidential Elections. AALDEF’s report, Asian American Access to Democracy in the 2008 Elections, documented violations of the Voting Rights Act and Help America Vote Act (HAVA), as well as other incidents of anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement from 52 cities across the country. The report is available online at /uploads/pdf/AALDEFElection2008_Report.pdf
For more information:
Glenn D. Magpantay
212.966.5932 ext. 206