Voting Rights Advocates Detail Plans to Combat Voter Intimidation
Organizations Push Back Against Voter Fraud Rhetoric Emphasizing What’s at Stake for Voters of Color in the 2016 Election
WASHINGTON – Voting rights advocates are pushing back against voter fraud rhetoric and highlighting what’s at stake for voting rights in communities of color in this election. On a call yesterday, leadership from Advancement Project, the New Florida Majority, the Ohio Unity Coalition and New Georgia Project provided a snapshot of alarming barriers to the ballot box for Black and Brown voters 18 days before the election. Voting rights advocates addressed concerns about voter intimidation and detailed their plans to ensure voters of color have access to the ballot box. The leaders from Advancement Project, the New Florida Majority, the Ohio Unity Coalition and the New Georgia Project made the following statement.
“Without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, some states and localities have ramped up their efforts to game the system in such a way that keeps people of color from the ballot. The real story is that, facing long odds, communities across the country are fighting back against these efforts, and they’re winning,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project’s national office. “Voters should have confidence that this election cycle, there will be an army of legal staff, non-profits and volunteers who will be working to ensure their access to the ballot.”
“There are concerns with the electoral system, but they revolve around systemic attempts to suppress voters of color by state and political operatives,” said Gihan Perera from the New Florida Majority. “There is so much at stake in elections both at the local level and in the presidential election. We are working to support the community to exercise their right without being intimidated.”
“This election, voters in Ohio will have the opportunity to vote on judges and prosecutors in a way that could impact how communities of color get justice when unarmed Black people are killed by police officers. If Black and Brown people aren’t allowed to register their support for judges or candidates who are running for office, it limits our ability to get justice in these key cases like Tamir Rice,” said Peete Talley, Convener of the Unity Coalition of Ohio. “We will be at polls as a resource to voters. If they run into any issues casting their ballot, we will assist them and help them understand their rights. Our message to voters of color is to just vote.”
“In Georgia, there is a lot at stake. There is a ballot initiative that would make it virtually impossible to get rid of bad judges, and that’s not good for anyone,” said Nse Ufot, Executive Director of New Georgia Project. “It’s not voter fraud we’re concerned about, it’s voter intimidation. We have mobilized against suppressive tactics and are working to train grassroots and legal observers to address voter intimidation if we see it.”
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Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.