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News: NAKASEC Joins Asian American Groups to Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Enforcement Provision of the Voting Rights Act

By March 25, 2009One Comment

AALDEF brief demonstrates how Asian Americans continue to face voting discrimination
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Contact: Glenn Magpantay, Staff Attorney, 212.966.5932 x206;

New York, NY…Today, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 35-year old national civil rights organization, filed an amicus “friend of the court” brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 41 Asian American groups, urging the Court to uphold the constitutionality of the enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder. AALDEF’s pro bono counsel is Proskauer Rose LLP.

Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney said, “Asian Americans have continued to face discriminatory obstacles in exercising their right to vote. The Supreme Court should uphold the Voting Rights Act.”

The enforcement provision, known as “Section 5,” requires jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination to get approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before implementing changes in voting procedures and practices, in order to ensure that the changes will not make it more difficult for racial and ethnic minorities to exercise their right to vote. The lower court upheld the provision.

AALDEF’s amicus brief cites examples of how Section 5 has protected Asian American voters with regard to school board elections, poll site changes, and compliance with Section 203, the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The brief details how Section 5 was used to ensure fully-translated ballots and language assistance at more polling places in growing Asian American neighborhoods. Many of these examples are from New York City, in which three counties–New York, Kings and Bronx–are covered under Section 5. A copy of the amicus brief can be downloaded at

Last week, AALDEF presented Congress with a new report detailing voter problems faced by Asian Americans in eleven states and the District of Columbia in the November 2008 Presidential Elections. AALDEF’s report, Asian American Access to Democracy in the 2008 Elections, documented violations of the Voting Rights Act and Help America Vote Act (HAVA), as well as other incidents of anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement from 52 cities across the country. The report is available online at

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Co-Signers to AALDEF’ Brief in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder.

American Citizens for Justice – MI
Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
Asian American LEAD – DC
Asian American Society of Central Virginia
Asian Community Development Corporation of Boston
Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, DC Area
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center
Asian Pacific Islander American Vote
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
Chinese American Voters Association
Chinese Progressive Association
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia
Filipino American Human Services, Inc.
Korean American League for Civic Action
Korean American Resource & Cultural Center
Korean American Voters’ Council of NY & NJ
Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington, DC
Maryland Vietnamese Mutual Association
Muslim Bar Association of New York
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
North American South Asian Bar Association
ONE Lowell
One Nevada
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
Providence Youth and Student Movement
The Sikh Coalition
South Asian Americans Leading Together
South Asian Bar Association of New York
South Asian Bar Association of Michigan
South Asian Youth Action!
Vietnamese American Initiative for Development
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans
YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community

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The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.