(Washington, D.C.)- On August 20, President Trump announced that he will be stationing federal troops at polling sites in November. With an unprecedented number of Americans expected to vote in the upcoming election, and polling places limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure free and fair elections that encourage voter turnout, and not voter suppression. The following is a statement from Kristen Clarke, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“In no uncertain terms, we fully condemn any plans that President Trump has to deploy federal law enforcement, U.S. Attorneys, or local sheriffs to our polling sites in November. This is an old and familiar tactic pulled right from the Jim Crow playbook and often specifically targeted at Black voters and voters of color. This voter suppression scheme is intended to intimidate voters and cause a chilling effect on the electorate. Such a deployment would likely run afoul of laws that prohibit intimidation of voters. We will use every tool in our arsenal to block thinly veiled efforts aimed at discouraging participation by eligible voters this election season.”
Federal laws such as Section II(b) of the Voting Rights Act bars conduct deemed intimidating, threatening or coercive to voters. Specifically, Section II(b) of the Voting Rights Act states that “no person [… ] shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote.”