WASHINGTON, DC – Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), issued the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer announced his intention to bring a vote to the Freedom to Vote Act later this week.
“Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote welcomes Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s intention to hold a vote on the Freedom to Vote Act this week by filing cloture on the motion to proceed. Filing cloture means the Senate Majority Leader is giving notice to the Senate that in two days, the Senate must decide if they are ready to move forward to a debate on the bill. Our ability to vote is essential to a healthy, functioning democracy – and that is why it’s so crucial Congress passes the Freedom to Vote Act.”
“Across the country, the freedom to vote is under attack by state legislatures passing laws that will make it harder to vote. As the Brennan Center of Justice’s latest Voting Laws Roundup Report notes, at least 19 states passed 33 laws this year alone that will make it harder for Americans to vote. These laws restrict access to early voting or voting-by-mail, empower partisan poll watchers, and restrict who can help voters who need assistance. With 73% of AAPIs voting early or by-mail in 2020 and 34% having limited English proficiency, these laws clearly target our communities from making their voices heard.”
“The Freedom to Vote Act will not only stop these anti-voter laws in their tracks, it will protect and expand every American’s ability to vote, stop partisan and racial gerrymandering, and protect our elections from interference.” Specifically, the bill:
- Would require states to offer early voting periods for at least two weeks prior to Election Day, including on nights and weekends, for at least 10 hours per day (in jurisdictions with more than 3000 voters)
- Would create a national standard permitting no-excuse vote by mail for every eligible voter and states would be required to permit voters to apply for absentee ballots online
- Would allow voters to return mail ballots in person to a polling place or to a drop box would also allow voters to designate another person to return their ballot for them, as long as that person is not compensated, and
- Would make Election Day a legal public holiday, making it easier for voters to get to the polls.
“Asian and Pacific Islander Americans came out in historic numbers in 2020 – making our voices heard like never before. However, building on this momentum requires our ability to vote not be infringed upon. Congress must do whatever it takes to pass this important bill, or the future of our communities, as well as our democracy, may never recover.”
About APIAVote: Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) is a national nonpartisan organization that works with partners to mobilize Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in electoral and civic participation. APIAVote envisions a world that is inclusive, fair, and collaborative, and where AAPI communities are self-determined, empowered, and engaged. See our website for more information at https://www.apiavote.org/