A Call To Action: Reclaiming The Right To Vote

Media Contact:

January 24, 2012

Anjuli Kronheim (213) 252-4552

A Call to Action: Reclaiming the Right to Vote

LOS ANGELES, CA – Across the country, there is an effort to block voters from participating in the 2012 elections. These efforts include a coordinated campaign to pass state laws to require voters show photo ID, roll back early voting and same day registration, and even require voters show proof of citizenship at the polls. On January 24, 2012, the Mexican American Legal Defense Education Fund (MALDEF), Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (APALC), Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Common Cause spoke out for the need to work together to ensure elections are open and accessible. New America Media co-hosted the media briefing.

“It is imperative that we come together to stand for the right of every eligible American to participate in the 2012 elections without barriers or discrimination” said Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause, who moderated the briefing. www.commoncause.org

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF pointed out that historically, amendments to the Constitution have expanded voting rights; however, “the current trend contradicts our constitutional values and history by seeking to burden the right to vote and to suppress participation.” www.maldef.org

In 2011, “state governments across the country enacted an array of new laws which could make it difficult for up to 5 million Americans to vote,” said Myrna Perez, Senior Counsel of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. www.brennancenter.org

“We need the full protection of the language assistance provision, Section 203, of the Voting Rights Act.” said Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of APALC. “There are 22 counties across 11 states that now must provide bilingual assistance in Asian languages.” http://www.apalc.org/pressreleases/2011/Section203pressrelease.pdf

Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director of The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, summarized the discussion with this statement, “This convening has been instrumental in exploring ways we can confront these challenges and ensure the American people that our democracy will remain open and accessible to all.” www.lawyerscommittee.org

California Common Cause is a non-partisan, non-profit that strives to strengthen our democracy by empowering our members, supporters and the general public to take action on critical policy issues.