Vice President for Public Affairs
Japanese American Citizens League
May 8, 2009
JACL opposes Texas voter legislation

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) announced its opposition
to a bill in the Texas legislature, S.B. 362, that would impose strict
identification requirements for voting.  In addition to a voter
registration certificate, voters would also need identification such
as a driver's license.

Those supporting the legislation suggest that the use of a photo
identification would eliminate fraud at the polls; however, according
to Richard L. Hasen, an expert in election law at the Loyola Law
School, the Justice Department has not found a single case of a
conspiracy to affect the outcome of a Congressional election or a
statewide election but, rather, "isolated, small-scale activities that
often have not shown any kind of criminal intent."

According to Ronald Katsuyama, JACL vice president for public affairs,
"Current Texas election code already contains safeguards against voter
fraud. Application for a voter registration certificate must be
submitted 30 days prior to an election, and the certificate must be
presented at the polls."

Floyd Mori, JACL National Director, says, "Texas S.B. 362 would
disproportionately affect (1) Asian Americans, if their names are
misspelled on precinct lists of registered voters, or (2) the poor,
elderly, recent immigrants, or those with disabilities, who are less
likely to have driver's licenses."

In citing the history of disenfranchisement of minority communities,
including documented cases of voter intimidation and racial profiling
that suppress voting, JACL President, Larry Oda says, "As a civil
rights organization, the JACL has long supported measures that would
enhance voter participation rather than those that would impose
barriers to participation."