Democracy Strikes Back. Lawsuit Accuses Trump of Violating The Voting Rights Act
The Trump/Giuliani efforts to claim voting fraud have frequently focused on black voters. With Trump cheering them on, two county Republican Canvassers temporarily blocked certification of the vote results in Detroit. They did so on thin claims of a few explainable discrepancies in counts that are routine. More to the point, they were willing to ignore and certify results in white areas that had greater discrepancies. They later changed their mind, voted to certify, then changed their minds again, unsuccessfully seeking to block certification.
A lawsuit filed yesterday seeks to bring an end to such racist games in vote certification. Three black voters in Detroit and the Michigan Welfare Rights organization filed THIS LAWSUIT accusing Donald Trump individually, and his campaign, of violating the Voting Rights Act.
The lawsuit alleges that after a series of unsuccessful lawsuits Team Trump has:
“turned to a new strategy: pressure state and local officials not to certify election results in key states and then have state legislatures override the will of the voters by installing President Trump’s slate of electors. They have actively pursued this strategy, compromising the integrity of the election process, and unlawfully interfering with will of the voters . . . No more. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 flatly prohibits Defendants’ efforts to disenfranchise Black people and assault our Republic. This is a moment that many of us hoped never to face. But we are here, and the law is clear. It is time to enforce it.”
The complaint alleges that the Trump Campaign has “openly discussed their strategy of disenfranchising voters in Detroit and Wayne County.” The complaint quotes Rudy Giuliani appearing to do just that in his press conference where he claimed what he described as “illegitimate ballots” that stunningly “were all cast basically in Detroit that Biden won 80–20.“ Giuliani asserted “it changes the result of the election in Michigan, if you take out Wayne County.” Yes, if you just don’t count the votes of black people, everything changes. The complaint then points to the tweet where Trump endorsed this allegation specific to Detroit.
As the Complaint makes clear, the Republican Canvassers who initially refused to certify the election targeted black areas and trivial discrepancies within them with laser precision, while ignoring greater discrepancies in white areas.
“one of the Republican Canvassers said she would be open to certifying the rest of Wayne County (which is predominately white) but not Detroit (which is predominately Black), even though those other areas of Wayne County had similar discrepancies and in at least one predominantly white city, Livonia, the discrepancies were more significant than those in Detroit.”
In the minds of the Republicans behind these schemes it is only the black peoples’ votes that are suspect. The white votes are not suspect no matter what the same data suggests.
After the public outcry the Republican Canvassers quite rightly earned, they reversed course and certified the results. However, then Trump intervened personally and the Canvassers reversed course again.
“Following the meeting of the Wayne County Board, President Trump then personally called both Republican canvassers. [cite omitted] After speaking with President Trump, the two canvassers provided affidavits to the Trump Campaign in a suit that it had filed in the Western District of Michigan. In those affidavits, the canvassers stated that, despite their votes to certify, they are opposed to certifying the Wayne County results.”
Alas, it was too late for the reversed votes to work, the certification had already gone forward. This time this Presidential meddling in the election certification failed, but what about next time? The Complaint points to other activities to influence vote certifications and state lawmakers.
The Complaint is very concerned about that next time and that the State Board of Canvassers meets on Monday to certify the vote statewide. The Complaint points out that this Board also consists of two Republicans and two Democrats. The Complaint notes that “the State Board of Canvassers serves a purely ministerial function” with “no independent authority to investigate the results of an election.”
The Plaintiffs allege the Defendants are violating 52 U.S.C. § 10307(b) of the Voting Rights Act. The Complaint quotes this provision as stating:
“No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote, or intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for urging or aiding any person to vote or attempt to vote.”
It then alleges that exerting pressure on state officials to not count or certify votes violates the provision “because it involves conduct that ‘intimidate[s], threaten[s], or coerce[s], or attempt[s] to intimidate, threaten or coerce’ people involved in ‘aiding person to vote or attempt to vote.’” The complaint points out that under the Voting Rights Act voting is broadly defined as “all action necessary to make a vote effective in any . . . election, including, but not limited to . . .having such ballot counted properly and included in the appropriate totals of votes cast.”
For relief the Plaintiffs ask that the court declare that the Defendants have violated the Voting Rights Act and enjoin them from continuing to do so.
If all of that seems to make more sense to you than the drivel filed by Team Trump that’s because it does.