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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 4, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 45
Dems sue Trump and GOP, charge voter intimidation
Section One
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Dems sue Trump and GOP, charge voter intimidation

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Democrats have filed a number of legal complaints against Donald Trump and the Republican Party, charging them with plotting to intimidate and suppress voters.

On October 31, state Democratic organizations in Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania filed federal lawsuits against the Trump campaign for violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits racial discrimination in voting. The Klan Act bars people from organizing conspiracies to intimidate or threaten voters.

Democrats are asking federal courts to enjoin GOP operatives from so-called 'exit polling' and 'citizen journalist' activities at election sites. Their lawsuits name state Republican parties, the Trump campaign, longtime Trump adviser Roger J. Stone, and a group called Stop the Steal Inc., formed by Stone, as defendants.

'Trump's calls for unlawful intimidation have grown louder and louder, and the conspiracy to harass and threaten voters on Election Day has already resulted in acts that threaten the voting rights of registered Pennsylvania voters,' the Pennsylvania complaint states.

The lawsuits cite an unnamed GOP official's comments to Bloomberg News on October 27 that the Trump campaign has three ongoing voter suppression operations that target African-Americans and other groups. The Democrats also note that Trump supporters have pledged to challenge voters at certain polling places where people of color are expected to vote.

Meanwhile, on October 26 the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a complaint in federal court charging that the Republican National Committee (RNC) has violated a long-standing consent decree that prohibits Republicans from engaging in 'ballot security' measures that could intimidate minorities.

As evidence, the DNC cites Donald Trump's own statements calling on his supporters to monitor polling places and prevent supposed voter fraud.

The DNC lawyers are asking for a court order preventing the voter intimidation, and also a ruling that the RNC is in contempt of court for failing to abide by the existing consent decree.

The decree was negotiated in 1981, after Republican officials allegedly engaged in intimidation tactics against minority voters in the name of 'ballot security.'

Under the terms of the decree, the RNC agreed not to engage in specific polling-related activities, including sending so-called 'poll security' or 'poll watchers' to polling places.

Although the RNC has tried to distance itself from many of these vigilante tactics, DNC lawyers say there is now 'ample evidence that Trump has enjoyed the direct and tacit support of the RNC in its 'ballot security' endeavors.'

The DNC's motion is also asking the court to enforce the consent decree with sanctions. The consent decree was expected to expire in 2017, but the DNC has asked for an eight-year extension based upon recent statements by GOP candidates.

More than 23 million people across the country have already cast absentee ballots or voted early in person, according to the non-partisan United States Election Project.

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