Civil Rights Groups, Lawmakers Are Monitoring Post-Election Challenges
It’s been more than two weeks since millions of Americans cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election, and the incoming administration of President- elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is getting underway.
Yet President Donald Trump and his allies have refused to concede, filing a series of court challenges, requests for recounts and other actions. Meanwhile on Twitter, Trump has declared the election was a “fraud,” a “joke,” and even “unconstitutional.”
Civil rights leaders and some elected officials are monitoring these events and speaking out. Kristen Clarke is president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“Chaotic and obstructive are the only words to describe these last-ditched attempts to rewrite the outcome of the election,” she said in a statement. “Ultimately, we are confident that the will of voters will prevail.”
Her remarks came after Wayne County Michigan’s board of canvassers deadlocked 2-2 earlier this week on certifying the Nov. 3 election. Wayne County is the largest county in the state of Michigan with more than 1.7 million people, nearly 70 percent of whom are Black.
The deadlock came after Trump allies voluntarily dismissed a failed lawsuit attempting to throw out tens of thousands of votes, overwhelmingly cast by Black voters, in Wayne County.
After intense public pressure, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners reversed course and unanimously agreed to certify the results of the election, pending an audit carried out by the Secretary of State of certain precincts in the county.
Of the delay, Clarke said: “Eligible Black voters and others across Wayne County, who overcame tremendous obstacles to vote this season, are being rendered, second-class citizens.”
The Trump campaign released a statement today signed by Rudy Giuliani, an attorney and former mayor of New York that said: “This morning we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted.”
There have been other post election controversies.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who recently won re- election after a fierce challenge from African American lawyer Jaime Harrison, allegedly put pressure on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other state officials to discard legally cast ballots. In media reports, Graham has denied any wrongdoing.
The Lawyers Committee and multiple civil rights groups including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Voting Rights Task Force, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and MALDEF have addressed these allegations in a statement.
They are urging the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics, the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and the Committee on House Administration to conduct “an immediate and thorough investigation into Senator Graham’s conduct in this matter. …To suggest, directly or indirectly, that any election official act in such a manner is an affront to the democratic process and may violate the law.”
“Our democracy hinges on one fundamental principle – counting every vote,” the group’s statement said. “It is an obligation, a moral imperative, and a duty that upholds our sacred right to choose our leaders.”
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