Are you aware of the hit American democracy has taken?
On July 1, the Supreme Court ruled in “Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee” that two racially discriminatory Arizona voting laws do not violate the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution, overturning a Ninth Circuit ruling.
Arizona has been ground zero for former President Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen. One of the state’s laws banned the collection of absentee ballots by anyone other than a relative or caregiver, and the other threw out any ballots cast in the wrong precinct.
The Supreme Court ruling narrows the only remaining section of the Voting Rights Act, section 2, which allows for legal challenges to voting changes that put minority voters at a disadvantage.
Sean Morales-Doyle, acting director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, said, “The justices stopped short of eviscerating the Voting Rights Act, but nevertheless did significant damage to this vital civil rights law and to the freedom to vote.”
“Efforts to suppress the minority vote continue,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in a scathing dissent.
Varun Nikore, the executive director of AAPI Victory Alliance—which works to empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—said, “AAPI communities are experiencing the brunt of voting attacks by right-wing actors who are blatantly trying to curb voting rights in order to win an election.”
AAPIs are the fastest growing voting bloc in the country—with a 46% increase in raw vote numbers from 2016 to 2020 and an even higher increase in key swing states such as Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Texas.
Nikore said, “This decision made by the Supreme Court will further discriminate against our communities and push the nearly 10 million unregistered AAPI voters back in the shadows.”
The House of Representatives passed a bill that would have set federal standards and overridden voter suppression provisions across the country, but in the Senate, opponents blocked consideration of the bill.
Forty-eight states have introduced 389 bills designed to restrict voting, and at least 28 have passed into law with many more in progress. If that doesn’t scare you, it should.
The only option we have left to protect the freedom to vote in this country is for Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act to enact national standards to prevent future attacks on our freedoms.
Nikore said, “AAPIs are often the forgotten group in our political landscape. That must change immediately and it starts with a new voting rights act to protect our AAPI voters… This is our time. Congress must pass a new Voting Rights Act. It’s the filibuster or democracy. There is no in-between.”