[Editor’s note: The following statement was issued by Sarah Baker, JACL VP public affairs, and Matthew Weisbly, JACL Education & Communications coordinator, and was lightly edited to adhere to AP Style and other journalistic conventions.]
The Senate’s inability to pass the Freedom to Vote: John Lewis Act has left JACL and our community greatly disappointed. The voting rights package, which was previously passed in the House this past Thursday, included key legislation that would broaden Americans’ access to voting as well as cut down on the influence of special interest groups and dark money. It would be the largest voting rights initiative to pass through Congress in over a decade.
Despite this setback, the JACL will continue to fight for the voting rights of all Americans, especially those who are most vulnerable. Asian Pacific Americans stand to lose much from regressive voter exclusion laws being passed at the local level that would reduce access to the ballot box. We refuse to be discouraged, and we will continue to advocate and have our voices be heard until change and reforms are passed that will guarantee minimal voting rights for all Americans. Voting rights are human rights.