“Lost Cause” to the “Big Lie” – we’re stuck in a malevolent version of “Groundhog Day.”

It’s time to fight Trump’s “Big Lie” with GOP facts and break out of this recurring trauma of voter suppression .

  • Action #1: Facts are fun! Create a meme and share it on your social media!
  • Action #2: “S.1 – For the People Act” – GOP-led states have proved that they can no longer be trusted to protect the right to vote.
  • Action #3: Censure all federal legislators who are complicit in pushing the “Big Lie.”
  • Action #4: Roll your sleeves up. We need to hammer Manchin with calls from his own constituents!
  • A brief overview of three Reconstructions.

(Graphic quote by Ricky L. Jones. Full video of Rep. Rafael Anchía interrogation here.)

Fighting back against the GOP’s “Big Lie” that reimagines America’s elections as dangerous quagmires of voter fraud committed by minorities and “antifa”, the Democratic state legislators of Texas walked out of their session to stop the passage of S.B. 7, one of the most restrictive and anti-democratic of the new voter restriction bills, risking the wrath of Governor Abbott and the possible sacrifice of their paycheck. “We did our part to stop S.B. 7. Now we need Congress to do their part by passing H.R. 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.” said Texas State Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-45).

So, is Texas a hotbed of duplicitous voters? According to the GOP’s own right-wing voter-fraud-myth promoter Heritage Foundation, who has created a database of wayward voters neatly organized by state, year and type of crime, Texas desperately needs S.B.7 because…wait a minute…they had exactly ZERO CASES OF VOTER FRAUD IN 2020-21! Georgia and Florida have already signed suppressive bills into law, because they had,…wait a minute… ZERO and ZERO cases respectively. Arizona, a relative hotbed of iniquity, is marked as having “ONE” for 2020. It seems that Attorney General Bill Barr was actually telling the truth.

So, it apparently wasn’t HOW voters were casting ballots, but WHO was voting. Again. Over and over. A group of distinquished scholars of democracy just released a statement of concern warning that our democracy is at risk as states seek “to restrict access to the ballot, the most basic principle underlying the right of all adult American citizens to participate in our democracy…and that some no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections.

Like a dysfuctional “Groundhog Day movie, GOP lawmakers are once again openly talking about ensuring the purity’ and ‘qualityof the vote, reviving arguments widely used across the Jim Crow South as reasons for restricting the Black vote. It’s time for a third Reconstruction, and we need federal intervention – with legislation like S. 1 -“For the People Act,” H.R.4 – The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and H.R. 51 – Washington DC Admission Act, to make it work. The country cannot afford to lose a third chance to get things right. Let’s use their own think tank’s facts and make them explain themselves.

Action #1: “Big Lie” Math – Create a meme and share it on your social media!

We’re using this one

(The Brennan Center for Justice has shareable links here & here on the GOP’s lies about voting fraud. Information on which states have passed or advanced restrictive bills here and here.)

  1. Find the number of voter fraud incidents in 2020-21 in your state, as reported by the right-wing Heritage Foundation. (For CA, there were 11)
  2. Next, find the total number of ballots counted in your state for the 2020 election. (For CA, there were 17,785,151)
  3. Now, find a calculator (online) or a competent 5th grader, and work out the ratio.
    • (For CA, it’s 11/17,785151 = 0.00000062 or .000062%)
  4. You can do it with national statistics as well:
  5. “Somebody is more likely to be struck by lightning than they are to commit voter fraud.” (Brennan Center
  6. “Explain to me, like to a child, why the GOP, with access to these same numbers, is still pushingTrump’s “Big Lie,” costing us taxpayers over $519 million dollars.”

Action #2: “S.1 – For the People Act” – GOP-led states and Trump’s supporters have proved that they can no longer be trusted to protect the right to vote or democracy itself. It’s time for a 3rd Reconstruction.

S. 1 -“For the People Act” will protect Americans’ voting rights NATIONWIDE using best practices from elections professionals, including reforms that are broadly popular with Americans across the political spectrum. (Discussed in more detail below the actions…)

  • 78% of Americans, including 63% of Republicans, support making early in-person voting available for at least two weeks prior to Election Day. (Pew Research Center, April 2021) The For the People Act would ensure Americans have access to at least 15 days of early voting.
  • 61% of Americans support automatic voter registration, which the For the People Act would implement. (Pew Research Center, April 2021)
  • 83% of likely voters support public disclosure of contributions to organizations involved in elections, which this legislation would require. (Campaign Legal Center, November 2019)

Minimal call/email script for Democratic Senators: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Sen. [___] for cosponsoring and supporting S.1– For the People Act and the H.R.4 – The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. But I need [him/her] to do more! It’s time for a third Reconstruction for voter rights and access!

  • The Senator needs to strongly endorse the elimination of the filibuster to get “S.1 – For the People” passed to create basic “best practice” minimum standards for everyone. Democratic leaders in Texas are publicly asking Congress to step up to protect their constituents’ voting access. Over a hundred scholars of democracy put out a statement warning us that altered election procedures in several states no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections, which is the foundation of any real democracy. (https://www.newamerica.org/political-reform/statements/statement-of-concern/). It would be shameful if a procedure historically used to protect Jim Crow laws was used for that purpose again in the twenty-first century.
  • I want the Senator to publicize the actual numbers of voter fraud per state, calling out the GOP’s “Big Lie” of rampant voter fraud using their own Heritage Foundation’s database (https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud/#choose-a-state), especially the “zero” number of fraud cases in Texas, Georgia and Florida.
  • I also want the Senator to ask publicly ask [his/her] GOP colleagues for an explanation for placing a burden of at least $519 million dollars (and growing) on the taxpayers over approximately 30 election fraud cases, numbers that they are well aware of, along with exposing election officials to threats against themselves and their families.

Minimal call/email script for GOP senators: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Sen. [___] to support S.1– For the People Act. With all the talk of rampant voter fraud, I decided to search the Heritage Foundation’s database of voter fraud for myself.(https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud/#choose-a-state) I was surprised to find that there were only [###] cases in our state. With [###] total votes cast in [state name], that’s an incredibly low percentage of fraud, less than the possibility of be struck by lightning. I’m going to be sharing this information with my friends and family on social media, who will be joining me in wondering why you and our state legislators are promoting Trump’s claims, which, according to the Washington Post, have already wasted over $519 MILLION of our taxpayer dollars. This is money that could have gone to something constructive. Instead, it’s going for legal fees, property repairs and security, issues all caused by people who believe that the election was stolen. Look up the numbers yourself. This whole “fraud” campaign is both shameful and wasteful, as well as a cruel trick on those who trust you.

A hundred scholars of democracy issued a statement that GOP-led states are transforming election procedures in ways that “no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections.” When I step into a voting booth, I expect ALL the candidates on the ballot, regardless of their political affiliation, to be interested in addressing corruption in all three branches of government, protecting voting rights, and reforming campaign finance. Up until now, I’ve been proud of our country’s history of peaceful elections. I was shocked by the Jan. 6 insurrection and I’m ashamed that GOP-controlled states are passing ugly and embarrassing Jim Crow-style laws. We entrusted Sen. [___] with our democracy back in 2020, and I expect [him/her] to find the moral fortitude to stand up against them by voting for S.1, and getting America’s house back in order again.

Contacts

This legislation is co-sponsored by both our senators, Feinstein and Padilla. See Feinstein’s statement here.

  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884 
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Action #3: Censure all federal legislators who are complicit in pushing this “Big Lie.”

Minimal email script: This is from an opinion piece by Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post. I agree with her position and I want you to do what is necessary to make this happen. “The House and Senate each has ethics rules. The purpose of these is to deter bad conduct, discipline offenders and, if needed, expel members for particularly egregious conduct. It makes a mockery of those rules to say that misallocating funds to decorate your office, for example, is punishable, but seeking to undo an election and inciting rioters are not.

Each chamber can enact a simple rule: “No member shall retain a seat if he or she endeavors to overthrow the results of an election, file frivolous lawsuits seeking to do the same or seek to pressure any election official to change the results of an election.” In addition, “No member shall incite domestic terrorists verbally or by gesture.”

Such rules would not run afoul of members’ First Amendment rights; instead, they recognize that the privilege of holding a seat in Congress comes with responsibilities. The bare minimum of those responsibilities involves refusal to participate in delegitimization of an election by perpetuating a nonstop stream of disinformation….Expulsion or at least censure and loss of committee seats is necessary to underscore the depth of their offense….” Democrats have an obligation here as well. They must confront their Republican “colleagues” and summon the nerve to take disciplinary action against them.” Backdate this to Jan. 7th, and get started, please.

Action #4: Roll your sleeves up. We need to hammer Manchin with calls from his own constituents!

Manchin just announced he won’t vote for S.1. However, politicians are usually pretty sensitive to their own constituents calling up with angry messages against their shenanigans. Join a West Virginia phonebank where we will call constituents in key states to ask them to call their Senators’ offices to voice their support for S1. It’s essential that Senators are directly hearing from their constituents on the support for the For the People Act.

  • For the People Act – West Virginians for Democracy, VoPro Pros & Focus 2020 
    • Mobilize link here: https://www.mobilize.us/vopropros/event/389987/
    • We’re so excited to work together with West Virginians for Democracy, Focus 2020, Common Cause and Represent Us to demand bold changes to our democracy and create a government that represents all of us, not big corporations or special interests. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through June we will call voters in West Virginia and connect them to Senator Manchin’s office to leave a message in support of For the People Act (S1). 
      • These shifts will include training for first-timers before you make calls – so if this is your first time, no worries! We’ll make sure you feel prepared before you begin.
        • Dates/times:
        • Tues, 6/8, 2:30 – 5:00 pm PDT
        • Thu 6/10, 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
        • Sat. 6/12, 1:00 – 3:30 pm PDT
        • Tues, 6/15, 2:30 – 5:00 pm PDT
        • Thu 6/17, 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
        • Sat. 6/19, 1:00 – 3:30 pm PDT
        • Tues, 6/22, 2:30 – 5:00 pm PDT
        • Thu 6/24, 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
  • For the People Phonebank with Common Cause 
    • Mobilize link here: https://www.mobilize.us/commoncause/event/376178/
    • We’re so excited to work together to demand bold changes to our democracy to create a government that represents all of us, not big corporations or special interests. . We’ll be calling voters in targeted states and connecting them to their Senators to support the For the People Act (S1) and eliminate the filibuster. These phonebanks are subject to change based on variables outside of our control (i.e. a Senator’s mailbox is full)
      • On Mondays at 4:00pm ET, we are partnering with Swing Left to urge politicians to eliminate the filibuster.
      • On Tuesday at 5:30pm ET, we are partnering with Represent.US to demand politicians to support the For the People Act.
      • On Thursdays, we are partnering with Indivisible Northampton to ensure that the For the People Act (S1) will come to fruition! And this Thursday, June 10th, we’re partnering with Stand Up America!
      • These shifts also always will include training for first-timers before you make calls – so if this is your first time, no worries! We’ll make sure you feel prepared before you begin.
      • Dates/times:
      • Tues, 6/8 2:30 – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Wed 6/9, 11:00 – 1:00 pm PDT
      • Thur 6/10 – 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Sat. 6/19 – 9:00 am – 11 pm PDT
      • Sat. 6/19 – 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Sun 6/20 – 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Mon 6/21 – 1:00 – 3:00 pm PDT
      • Mon 6/21 – 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Tues, 6/22 2:30 – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Wed 6/23, 11:00 – 1:00 pm PDT
      • Thur 6/24 – 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Sat. 6/26 – 9:00 am – 11 pm PDT
      • Sat. 6/26 – 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Sun 6/27 – 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
      • Mon 6/28 – 1:00 – 3:00 pm PDT
      • Mon 6/28- 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm PDT
      • continues…

Contacts

A brief overview of three Reconstructions.

The names behind White Supremacy change, but their suppression of minority voting rights remains the same: “…white supremacists have changed their names over the years from the American Colonization Society to the Democratic Party to the Ku Klux Klan to the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy to the White Citizens Council to today’s Republican Party to many other monikers, but their philosophical foundation is the same. White supremacy is not a static monster. It evolves, morphs, reinvents and camouflages itself as it becomes less palatable, but is always there. It has been said one of the devil’s greatest tricks was convincing the world he doesn’t exist. The same is true of white supremacy.” – Ricky L. Jones.

January 6th wasn’t White supremacists’ first violent attempt to overturn an election. After the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan launched White-supremacist insurrections all across the South to stop Black people and their allies from voting. After federal troops were removed from the South as part of the Compromise of 1876, states returned to culling “undesirable” voters through poll taxes, literacy tests, violence and intimidation, with the aid of the Supreme Court. The resulting Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 made the use “force, intimidation, or threat” to infringe on people’s rights to vote, hold office, testify in court and serve on a jury a federal crime. That same law is being cited in three separate lawsuits against Trump and his friends for their actions at the insurrection. Meanwhile 12 bills in 6 states would expand the power of poll watchers, increasing the likelihood of voter intimidation.

The next time, White supremacists did it through the courts. Rev. William Barber II of the Poor People’s Campaign, describes the beginning of the Second Reconstruction as the death of Emmett Till, whose lynching at the age of 14 galvanized his generation to eventually organize the lunch counter sit-ins and other protests, which ultimately led to the Voting Rights Act of the 1965. However, in 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court once again reeled federal oversight back in, with Justice Roberts claiming, in absence of proof, that “preclearance” of voting procedures of the former slave states was no longer required.

Here we are again. Rev. Barber “Now the Trayvon Martin generation has come of age and is pushing the nation toward a Third Reconstruction. The death of Mr. Floyd, along with those of Breonna Taylor and so many more who’ve joined the litany of lives taken, marked a turning point in the movement: His cries of “I can’t breathe” united this generation in a collective gasp for justice.” However, this third Reconstruction, attaining the civil rights and benefits due all Americans, requires access to the ballot box, free of intimidation or harsh conditions. And like the earlier Reconstructive movements, it will require federal intervention – with legislation like S. 1 -“For the People Act,” H.R.4 – The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and H.R. 51 – Washington DC Admission Act, to make it work. The country cannot afford to lose a third chance to get things right.

Deeper Dive on S.1 – For the People Act.

(This helpful video below, from 2019, is a great conversation with the bill’s author, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD-3). Short explainer videos from him on this bill here.)

Update: Trump just signed up for mail-in voting in Florida – past the deadline. 

H.R.1/S.1, first introducted in 2019, is a collection of reforms to campaign finance, voting rights, and government ethics for ALL THREE BRANCHES of government, including the presidency and the judiciary. After Trump’s real-time master class in corruption, we need this bill’s stronger guardrails more than ever. “Norms” are no longer good enough. H.R. 1 is an important first step towards building an equitable and functional democracy, along with the D.C. statehood bill and H.R.4 – John Lewis Voting Rights Act, without which we can’t achieve any of our other progressive goals.

This is a VERY LONG BILL, so here are some ways to approach it. 

Here are just a few of the reforms in HR 1: 

  • Requiring automatic and same day voter registration for federal elections
  • Requiring the president, vice president, and candidates for those offices to release their tax returns
  • Forcing the president and vice president to divest from financial holdings that could secretly pose a conflict of interest
  • Provide for early voting and expands mail-in voting…you know, like Trump did.
  • Funding election security upgrades to prevent fraud and foreign interference.
  • Making voting transparent by requiring PAPER ballots!
  • Expanding the disclosure of donors funding dark money groups
  • Creating a small donor matching system for Congressional elections
  • Stop gerrymandering by creating non-partisan redistricting.

Ten reasons for the Senate to pass the For the People Act 

From CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Cracking down on government corruption

  • If presidential candidates disclosed their tax returns, the American people would not have to spend years wondering what interests the president could be beholden to or whether the president has paid their fair share. 
    • The For the People Act would require the president, vice president and candidates for those offices from major parties to disclose 10 years of personal tax returns, as well as 10 years of returns for businesses of which they are the sole or principal owner. 
  • If presidents and vice presidents were required to divest from their conflicts of interest before taking the oath of office, the president could not rake in $1.6 billion in side revenue and income and groups like CREW would not have to sue them for violating the Constitution. 
    • The For the People Act would require the president and vice president to divest from personal financial interests that could pose a conflict with their official duties—just like other executive branch employees must. 
  • If Supreme Court Justices were held to a code of ethics, like every other federal judge, then justices may have to recuse themselves from cases involving family members’ former employers. Like Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who failed to recuse from a case before the Supreme Court about Shell.
    • The For the People Act would require a code of ethics for the entire federal judiciary, including Supreme Court justices, which could deal with issues like recusal, financial disclosures, outside employment and partisan political engagement.
  • If cabinet members and senior administration officials’ private flights were restricted, people like Tom Price and Scott Pruitt would not be able to use tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on travel.
    • The For the People Act would restrict taxpayer-funded travel on private planes by Cabinet members and senior appointees, except in cases where there are no commercial flights available.   
  • If members of the House were banned from serving on corporate boards, we would not have to worry about using their positions to enrich themselves or  to go easy on the companies they profit from. Like former Rep. Chris Collins did with Innate Immunotherapeutics back in 2017.
    • The For the People Act would significantly strengthen conflict of interest rules for members of Congress, including banning House members from serving on the boards of for-profit entities, and would restrict the ability of members of Congress from working to further their own financial interests or that of family members. 

Fighting big money in politics

  • If members of Congress were more accountable to their constituents rather than to their wealthy donors, they would be less likely to get away with inciting an insurrection or going on tropical vacations during a crisis in their state. 
    • The For the People Act would create a voluntary small-donor matching program for House races, as well as piloting  a voucher program in three states, which would enable candidates to run for office without relying on wealthy donors.
  • If political donors’ names were associated with the advertisements and dark money groups  they funded, they could be held accountable for that spending, rather than saying one thing in public and doing another in private—and groups like CREW wouldn’t have to go to court to force that disclosure.
    • The For the People Act would require groups spending more than $10,000 on elections to disclose, with limited exceptions, donors giving more than $10,000, as well as require disclosure of such donations to groups that then transfer the funds to other groups for spending on elections. It would also require outside groups to disclose their top donors in all video, audio or online political ads. 
  • If the FEC actually did its job, groups like CREW would not have to sue the FEC  to make sure there were consequences when dark money groups break the law.
    • The For the People Act would reform the FEC, including lowering the number of commissioners to five to prevent tie votes, streamlining the FEC enforcement process, and allow for more judicial review of the FEC’s decisions.

Getting out the vote and making it count

  • If voter registration and election procedures were modernized, more Americans would be able to make their voices heard more easily. This would shift power from big money donors and corporations back to the people.
    • The For the People Act would significantly modernize voter registration by requiring states to implement same-day and automatic voter registration for federal elections. It would also require states to offer at least two weeks of early voting and require states to allow any eligible voter to vote by mail in federal elections.
  • If states stopped gerrymandering congressional districts based on race and party, elections would be more about whose policies voters liked, rather than what side of the street they happen to live on.
    • The For the People Act would ban partisan gerrymandering and include stronger protections for racial, ethnic and language minorities in redistricting. It would also require states to use independent redistricting commissions for congressional redistricting, changing it from the current partisan process in many states.

Resources

  • (WaPo) Opinion: A frantic warning from 100 leading experts: Our democracy is in grave danger
  • (Atlantic) The United States Needs a Third Reconstruction. Whatever its shape, the era ahead must rekindle the aspiration of a nation molded in the ideal of perfect equality.
  • (usatoday.com) ‘Third Reconstruction’ theory says nation still in progress on civil rights
  • (Mother Jones) Jim Crow Killed Voting Rights for Generations. Now the GOP Is Repeating History.
  • (Statement of Concern) The Threats to American Democracy and the Need for National Voting and Election Administration Standards
  • (CNN) States cannot be trusted to protect the right to vote
  • (Atlantic) Make America White Again? Donald Trump’s language is eerily similar to the 1920s Ku Klux Klan—hypernationalistic and anti-immigrant.
  • (NYTimes) A Cry of ‘I Can’t Breathe’ United a Generation in a Gasp for Justice
  • (WaPo) The 150-year-old Ku Klux Klan Act being used against Trump in Capitol attack
  • (courier journal) Why I love Donald Trump: He exposed just how deep American white supremacy runs
  • (Clearinghouse.net) “IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – Thompson v. Trump, Giuliani, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers

Summary of cases citing the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. (Justsecurity.org)

  • 7. Bennie Thompson Incitement Suit for Jan. 6 Capitol Attack
    • Case Summary: On Feb. 6, 2021, Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson sued former President Trump and Rudy Giuliani along with two right-wing militia groups known as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, for violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(1). In the complaint, Thompson alleges that Trump violated the Ku Klux Klan Act by inciting the rioters with the intent to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties of the timely approval of the Electoral College vote. He argues that after Trump’s loss in the Nov. 2020 election, the then-President set out on a campaign to mobilize his supporters, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. It portrays Trump’s rhetoric on the morning of Jan. 6 as a call to arms and as intended to prevent the certification of the election.
    • The Act was passed in 1871 in response to violence and intimidation by the KKK intended to stop Black people from voting. The legislation allows Members of Congress to sue individuals who conspire to violently “molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede” the discharge of a public official’s duties.
    • Thompson seeks compensatory damages for his emotional distress suffered during the attack in addition to punitive damages. 
    • Case Status: The complaint was filed on Feb. 16, 2021 with defendants’ summonses attached. According to the summonses, defendants’ answers are due in late April. On Apr. 7, 2021, ten additional members of Congress moved to join the lawsuit as plaintiffs.
  • 9. Capitol Police Suit for Jan. 6 Riots
    • Blassingame v. Trump, No. 21-cv-00858 (D.D.C. filed Mar 30, 2021)
    • Plaintiff: James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, two Capitol police officers
    • Case Summary: On Mar. 30, 2021, two Capitol Police Officers suedDonald Trump for injuries they sustained during the Jan. 6 riots in DC. The officers–James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby–say they were maced with bear spray, attacked with fists and flagpoles, and even crushed against a door as they tried to protect the Capitol from pro-Trump intruders.
    • Much like the other Jan. 6 suits against Trump, the officers pin their injuries on Trump’s incendiary rhetoric before and during violence. Both allege that Trump directed the rioters to assault them, aided the rioters in committing those assaults, and negligently incited the riot in violation of DC’s public safety codes. Blassingame also accuses Trump of directing intentional infliction of emotional distress, pointing to the racial slurs and taunts that the intruders allegedly hurled at him during the violence.
    • Case Status: The officers filed their suit in DC federal court on Mar. 30, 2021.
    • Update: On Apr. 28, 2021, the plaintiffs added two new conspiracy claims against Trump, one based on the KKK Act and the other on common law conspiracy. They allege that Trump illegally conspired with the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers to storm the Capitol, which in turn caused the plaintiffs’ injuries.
  • 10. NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund Voting Rights Case
    • Mich. Welfare Rights Org. v. Trump, No. 20-cv-03388 (D.D.C. filed Nov. 20, 2020)
    • Plaintiff: Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and the NAACP, represented by the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF).
    • Case Summary: On Nov. 20, 2020, LDF sued then-President Trump and the Trump campaign alleging that their post-election conduct violated Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. § 10307(b). After losing the election, Trump spent weeks pressuring Republican election officials not to certify the election—in particular, the complaint examines the actions of Wayne County Repulican election officials who first voted not to certify the election, though they eventually did. Section 11(b) forbids intimidation of voters, those aiding voters, and certain election officials. Voting is broadly defined in the Voting Rights Act, covering “all action necessary to make a vote effective[,] … including … having such ballot counted properly and included in the appropriate totals of votes cast.” 
    • In Dec. 2020, the complaint was amended to include the NAACP as a plaintiff, the Republican National Committee as a defendant, and alleged a new claim: that defendants violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, which prohibits conspiracies to deprive someone of equal protection under law or the right to vote. 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3). LDF argues that Trump’s efforts to discard votes in cities with large Black populations meets the statutory definition.
    • LDF seeks statutory damages, a declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief that would prevent defendants from intimidating voters and election officials in the future.
    • Case Status: On Feb. 25, defendants moved to dismiss the case. They had a variety of arguments, including that the case was filed in the wrong court, that the cited statutes do not allow a private party to bring litigation, and that their conduct did not violate the statutes.

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