Voting Rights Working Group on Election Protection Litigation
Categories: Civil Rights (Voting Rights, Juries, Census)
From the statement released December 22, 2020, by the Voting Rights Working Group:
Latino, Black, Asian American, and Native American voters played a decisive role in last month’s presidential election and are once again poised to play a prominent role in Georgia’s run-off election.
Yet, these same voters remain the primary targets of voter suppression. Voters of color, who have long faced relentless attacks to their right to vote, have fought back against the undemocratic, anti-immigrant and racist forces pursuing a voter suppression agenda. The member organizations of the Voting Rights Working Group have assisted in this fight by challenging these assaults for over half a century on behalf of voters of color, in partnership with community-based organizations (CBOs) and centered on a non-partisan, racial justice perspective. Our member organizations have developed longstanding relationships with CBOs and leaders in communities of color, resulting in enduring partnerships of trust and long-term shared interests.
Recently, our nation has seen an increase in partisan engagement in voting rights litigation. But we know that the fight to secure voting rights and to battle voter discrimination is about community members and people of color, and not about parties or partisan concerns. In fact, member organizations of the Voting Rights Working Group have brought voting rights litigation against defendants representing both parties over the years. This enduring fight against voter suppression culminated in record-shattering turnout in the 2020 and ensured that the voices of people of color would be heard in one of the most critical elections of our lifetimes – made possible by the courage and conviction of voters of color, and the tireless efforts to bring community- and racial justice-focused litigation to protect voting rights. One of the dangerous narratives coming out of the 2020 elections is the exclusive partisan framing of Election Protection cases, which results in altering the perception of the right to vote as a partisan issue, rather than as an issue of this nation’s core democratic principles. This new framing is just false. For the 2020 elections, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, Voting Rights Working Group member organizations led litigation, or were otherwise significantly involved, in 75 Election Protection cases in 28 states and Puerto Rico. These cases were brought on behalf of, and centered on, communities of color and their constitutional rights. Perpetuating a revisionist notion that election protection is a partisan issue will further erode our community members’ ability to effectively participate in future elections and have their voices heard. It also threatens longstanding bipartisan support for protecting the franchise.
While our collaborative efforts won many victories that helped ensure more voters were able to access ballots and have their voices counted, there remains a continuous onslaught on voting rights that requires constant vigilance and vigorous challenges to safeguard the right to vote for millions of Americans moving forward. At their core, these attacks on voting rights are racial injustices, and we are committed to fighting and framing these issues as such, not as partisan issues.
The Voting Rights Working Group is a loose consortium of the nation’s most prominent and experienced non-profit organizations pursuing voting rights litigation on behalf of racial minorities. Our member organizations are nonpartisan legal advocacy groups with decades of experience in using the law to promote and protect the voting rights of people of color.
Our member organizations include:
• American Civil Liberties Union
• Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
• Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
• Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
• LatinoJustice PRLDEF
• Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
• MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)
• NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
• Native American Rights Fund
• Southern Coalition for Social Justice