50 Years of the Voting Rights Act: An Asian American Perspective

Terry Ao Minnis, Director of Census and Voting Programs Mee Moua, President and Executive Director
| August 4, 2015

The Voting Rights Act has helped protect Asian American voters over the last 50 years, including through language assistance.

On the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act, or VRA, we find it more significant than ever to highlight the importance of the VRA in protecting and promoting the Asian American vote.

Citizenship and ability to vote are inextricably intertwined. Without one, the other is impossible to achieve. And until 1952, federal policy barred immigrants of Asian descent from becoming U.S. citizens and having access to the vote. Today, as the nation’s fastest growing racial group, Asian Americans are quickly becoming an electoral force at the polls, making it imperative for us to remain vigilant and active in ensuring our community’s right to vote.

Federal policy barred immigrants of Asian descent from becoming U.S. citizens until 1952

Take a look at our timeline below for a snapshot of Asian Americans’ experience at the polls from the first law passed to prohibit immigration of a specific ethnic group in 1882, through instances of discrimination towards our communities, to the present day as civil rights groups band together to demand voter protections for minorities and communities of color. Then read our report for more information on how voter discrimination and suppression affect the Asian American community and the need to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act for the next fifty years.

50 years of Asian Americans and the Voting Rights Act