In this critical moment as the U.S. Senate faces the opportunity to pass landmark civil rights legislation, APABA-DC joined AAPI organizations in sending a clear message to the U.S. Senate that voting rights are fundamental to a healthy democracy and must be protected. The full text of the letter is below.
The U.S. Capitol
The United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
We, the undersigned organizations, are calling on you not only to debate but to move to final passage of H.R. 5746, the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. This bill will ensure that voters can safely and freely cast their ballots, protect against election sabotage, stop partisan gerrymandering, and make Election Day a holiday so that people do not have to miss work to cast their ballots. This legislation is critical to ensure that the voices Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs), are heard at the ballot box. We protect democracy by ensuring that as many citizens as possible participate in elections. Democracy is diminished when such access is limited.
The attacks on voter access have only increased; nineteen states enacted 34 new laws that restrict access to the ballot box in 2021 alone and more are under consideration today. We saw from the 2020 presidential election and the regional elections in 2021 that AAPIs went to the polls in record numbers. And we saw how an increasing number of us prefer to vote early and vote by mail. The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act will address our key concerns around voter protection and ensure the ability for every American to participate in safe, accessible, and transparent elections.
H.R. 5746 combines the provisions from the Freedom to Vote Act with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and represents the most comprehensive voting reform in decades. This bill represents fundamentals that AAPI communities have been supporting for decades. During those years, voting rights legislation has always been passed with strong bipartisan support and for those who believe in democracy’s bedrock principle of the right to vote, the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act must be passed now.