WASHINGTON, DC – Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, issued the following statement after the United States Senate failed to put the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act to a vote.
“We at APIAVote are greatly disappointed with the Senate’s failure to put the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act to a vote. In 2021 alone, 34 new laws in nineteen states were enacted to restrict access to the ballot box and more are under consideration today. It has never been more clear: Americans’ freedom to vote is under attack by some politicians’ decision to place political gain over the integrity of our democracy.”
“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) came out to the polls in historic numbers in 2020 and 2021. In many cases, we were the margin of victory that determined elections, and we chose to elect leaders who have helped make significant progress for our communities in the past several months: the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is now law, California has allocated $150 million for combating anti-Asian Hate, and Illinois and New Jersey will now require Asian American history in schools. All of this is at-risk, however, if our access to voting is diminished.”
“The record participation numbers in the last presidential election and regional elections in 2021 showed that the increased turnout by AAPIs were driven by a preference to vote early, vote by mail, and use ballot drop off boxes. The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act addressed our key concerns around voter protection and ensured the ability for every American to participate in safe, accessible, and transparent elections. This legislation also standardizes voter identification requirements and increases penalties for voter intimidation, protecting members of our community from being discriminated against and interrogated at the polls.”
“The failure in the Senate chamber today is NOT the end of our fight for voting rights. AAPIs have come too far for our progress to be taken away by those who stand in the way of open and fair elections. We ask our fellow Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander citizens to join our fight by making it clear to the politicians that we will not tolerate barriers to voting for voters of color, veterans, voters with disabilities, rural voters, new Americans, or young people. We will not accept efforts to remove local election officials or harass them to prevent them from counting every vote. We will move forward and protect the voice and vote of every American – by educating our communities about their rights, registering our communities to vote, and encouraging our communities to get out to the polls.”
“We demand Congress, the White House, and state legislatures act to protect voting rights – whatever it takes.”
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/