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Civil Rights

Lawsuit: Trump Campaign’s Election Lawsuits Violated the Ku Klux Klan Act

— December 25, 2020

In its complaint, the NAACP noted that many of the Trump campaign’s lawsuits seek or sought to invalidate Black votes.

A federal lawsuit accuses President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act by filing frivolous complaints intended to challenge the results of the 2020 election.

According to NBC News, the lawsuit alleges that Trump and his conservative allies engaged in a “coordinated effort” to disenfranchise Black voters by “disrupting vote counting efforts, lodging groundless challenges during recounts, and attempting to block certification of election results through intimidation and coercion of election officials and volunteers.”

As LegalReader has reported before, many of the Trump campaign’s elections-related lawsuits have been highly targeted: most litigation centers on the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona.

In several states, the campaign has demanded the dismissal of tens of thousands of ballots from but a handful of counties. A Wisconsin suit, for instance, only requested that ballots from Milwaukee and Dane counties by invalidated.

While President Trump won many of Wisconsin’s other counties, Milwaukee and Dane are Wisconsin’s two most populous districts—and also its most ethnically diverse.

Similarly, the Trump campaign propagated conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud in Michigan’s Wayne County—the seat of Detroit, which has more African-Americans by percentage than any other large city in the United States.

The lawsuit notes that many of the Trump campaign’s lawsuits have focused on states, cities, and counties which have large numbers of minority voters, such as Milwaukee and Detroit. It argues that the lawsuits run afoul of the Third Enforcement Act, popularly referred to as the Ku Klux Klan Act.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Under the Act’s provisions, no individual, organization, or entity may conspire to deny people the right to vote.

“Defendants’ efforts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters—targeting cities with large Black populations, including Detroit, Michigan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta, Georgia—repeat the worse abuses in our nation’s history,” the lawsuit states.

Sam Spital, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said the lawsuit seeks to ensure that no other group can ever launch a similar assault on American democracy.

“By targeting communities of color with false claims of voter fraud, and by coordinating actions to pressure state and local officials to discard votes cast in cities with large Black populations, President Trump, his campaign, and the RNC, have undermined our most sacred constitutional values,” Spital said. “With this suit, we seek to vindicate our clients’ rights and prevent future attacks on the fabric of our democracy.”


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Lawsuit accuses Trump, Republican National Committee of violating so-called Ku Klux Klan Act

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