From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Civil Rights Groups Vow to Fight Back as GOP Builds Massive Voter Suppression Machine for 2020 Election
Date May 21, 2020 2:14 AM
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[ "We will use every tool in our arsenal to block efforts aimed at
discouraging participation by eligible voters this election season."]
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CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS VOW TO FIGHT BACK AS GOP BUILDS MASSIVE VOTER
SUPPRESSION MACHINE FOR 2020 ELECTION  
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Jake Johnson
May 19, 2020
Common Dreams
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_ "We will use every tool in our arsenal to block efforts aimed at
discouraging participation by eligible voters this election season." _


A woman casts her ballot in a presidential primary election at the
Hamilton High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2020.,
(Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Civil rights groups are vowing to fight back against what they are
calling a nationwide voter intimidation and suppression campaign by
the national Republican Party and President Donald Trump that could
have a "chilling effect" on voting rights and November turnout.

The _New York Times_ reported
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that the Republican National Committee, President Donald Trump's 2020
reelection campaign, and right-wing advocacy groups are "mounting an
aggressive national effort to shape who gets to vote in November—and
whose ballots are counted."

"The Republican program, which has gained steam in recent weeks,
envisions recruiting up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 key states to
monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed
suspicious," according to the _Times_. "That is part of a $20 million
plan that also allots millions to challenge lawsuits by Democrats and
voting-rights advocates seeking to loosen state restrictions on
balloting."

Earlier this month, _Politico_ reported
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"more than two dozen Republican operatives" are coordinating with
state and local GOP officials to fight efforts to expand vote-by-mail,
which advocates say is necessary to safely conduct the November
elections amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump has opposed
vote-by-mail, saying in March
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"you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again" if
mail-in voting is expanded.

In a joint statement
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evening, advocacy groups Common Cause and the Lawyers' Committee for
Civil Rights Under Law said they plan to do everything in their power
to stop the GOP's massive "vote suppression push" disguised as an
effort to combat the mythical scourge of voter fraud
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"These efforts hearken back to so-called 'ballot security' programs
that were found unlawful and led to court-ordered injunctions
prohibiting their implementation," said Kristen Clarke, president and
executive director of the Lawyers' Committee. "We will use every tool
in our arsenal to block efforts aimed at discouraging participation by
eligible voters this election season."

In January 2018, a federal district court judge lifted a decades-old
consent decree barring the national Republican Party from engaging in
"ballot security" efforts like  without court approval.

As _The Atlantic_'s Vann R. Newkirk II wrote
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the time, the consent decree was born out of a DNC lawsuit accusing
the RNC of deploying "off-duty cops to patrol majority-minority
precincts, wearing 'National Ballot Security Task Force' armbands."

Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, said in a statement
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her group and other activists "intend to fight every effort to
suppress any American's voting rights" now that the RNC is once again
free to engage in aggressive voter intimidation campaigns.

"In the midst of a national health crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic,
Americans of every political party should be working to make voting as
safe and fair as possible," said Flynn. "Regrettably that is not the
course taken by the Republican Party which has chosen to try to take
advantage of a pandemic for partisan political gain."

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