November 19, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christine Chen, Executive Director 202-223-9170
APIAVOTE CALLS FOR SUPREME COURT TO STRIKE DOWN INDIANA VOTER ID LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON, DC – Today leaders of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), a non-partisan non-profit civic engagement organization, addressed the United States Supreme Court's consideration of an Indiana law that requires voters to present photo identification at the polls.
APIAVote has joined two amicus briefs filed by the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) with the Supreme Court against Indiana's restrictive legislation on voter identification. Both of these amicus briefs urged the Court to strike down photo identification requirements, citing their unconstitutional discriminatory impact on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters. The constitutionality of Indiana’s voter ID requirements is being challenged in two cases, William Crawford v. Marion County Election Board and Indiana Democratic Party v. Todd Rokita. Oral arguments are scheduled to be presented on January 9, 2008. In addition to Indiana, several other states have enacted similar legislation which could be impacted by the Court's ruling.
"Many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are low income, limited-English speaking, and elderly voters. Instituting photo identification requirements at the polls creates unnecessary barriers that make it harder for our communities to exercise the right to vote," stated Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) and APIAVote Board member Gloria T. Caoile.
EunSook Lee, Executive Director of National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and APIAVote Treasurer noted: "There have already been longstanding calls for uniform and appropriate training for election day poll workers. These new identification mandates will undoubtedly lead to more confusion and opens the doors to cases of discrimination against minority voters by well-meaning poll workers navigating unnecessarily cumbersome election rules.
"No evidence exists to prove there is a widespread conspiracy to commit vote fraud," emphasized Bill Kaneko, board member of APIAVote. "Voter ID is a costly action to address a non-existent problem. At little or no cost, most voters can offer signatures and sworn affidavits to prove their identities.”
"Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have waited generations to gain a voice in the political process," said APIAVote Board Chair Vida Benavides. "The ability to vote in this nation's elections is one of the most fundamental rights that our Constitution affords. Our pursuit of liberty and democracy is at stake."