Monday, April 28, 2008

release: APA Advocates Disappointed in Court Decision in IN Voter ID Case

Asian American Advocates Disappointed in Supreme Court’s Decisionin the Indiana Voter ID Case

Washington, D.C. – The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) and its affiliates – Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Asian Law Caucus and the Asian American Institute – join voting rights and advocacy groups nationwide in their disappointment in the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Indiana voter photo identification law. The decision did, however, leave the door open to future challenges in Indiana and elsewhere by otherwise eligible voters who are denied their right to vote based on onerous and unconstitutional voter ID laws.

“Studies have shown that there are millions of eligible voters without the necessary IDs, including Asian Americans,” said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute. “As the dissent notes, Indiana’s law will sadly but predictably have its greatest impact on voters who are poor, elderly, belong to racial minorities or have disabilities. Asian Americans are among those who will be disproportionately impacted by these laws.”

"We find it quite alarming that six justices marginalize the burden placed on many eligible Indiana voters who lack a driver’s license by the Indiana’s voter ID law, including those additional burdens faced by naturalized Asian Americans who incur more expense and time to obtain the necessary ID,” said Terry M. Ao, AAJC’s director of census and voting programs.
“Equally troublesome is the fact that the Justices accepted seemingly without question Indiana’s unsubstantiated claim of voter fraud despite the inability of the state to produce one instance of in-person voter fraud that the Indiana statute allegedly addresses,” added Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

“Participation in the democratic process should unite all Americans; we should be seeking ways to encourage more voters, not inventing excuses to deny citizens their constitutional right to vote,” said Susan Mooney, interim executive director at the Asian Law Caucus. "Indiana, and now the Court, is unnecessarily making voting more difficult than it needs to be, or should be for Indiana voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote."

AAJC and its affiliates filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case, William Crawford et al. v. Marion County Election Board, et al.

The Asian American Justice Center, formerly known as NAPALC, is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. It works closely with three affiliates – the Asian American Institute of Chicago, the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles – and nearly 100 community partners in 49 cities, 23 states and Washington, D.C.