Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A woman casts her ballot in a presidential primary election at the Hamilton High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2020. (Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

Civil Rights Groups Vow to Fight Back as GOP Builds Massive Voter Suppression Machine for 2020 Election

"We will use every tool in our arsenal to block efforts aimed at discouraging participation by eligible voters this election season."

Jake Johnson

Civil rights groups are vowing to fight back against what they are calling a nationwide voter intimidation and suppression campaign by the national Republican Party and President Donald Trump that could have a "chilling effect" on voting rights and November turnout.

The New York Times reported Monday that the Republican National Committee, President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection campaign, and right-wing advocacy groups are "mounting an aggressive national effort to shape who gets to vote in November—and whose ballots are counted."

"In the midst of a national health crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans of every political party should be working to make voting as safe and fair as possible. Regrettably that is not the course taken by the Republican Party."
—Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause
"The Republican program, which has gained steam in recent weeks, envisions recruiting up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 key states to monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious," according to the Times. "That is part of a $20 million plan that also allots millions to challenge lawsuits by Democrats and voting-rights advocates seeking to loosen state restrictions on balloting."

Earlier this month, Politico reported that "more than two dozen Republican operatives" are coordinating with state and local GOP officials to fight efforts to expand vote-by-mail, which advocates say is necessary to safely conduct the November elections amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump has opposed vote-by-mail, saying in March that "you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again" if mail-in voting is expanded.

In a joint statement Monday evening, advocacy groups Common Cause and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said they plan to do everything in their power to stop the GOP's massive "vote suppression push" disguised as an effort to combat the mythical scourge of voter fraud.

"These efforts hearken back to so-called 'ballot security' programs that were found unlawful and led to court-ordered injunctions prohibiting their implementation," said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee. "We will use every tool in our arsenal to block efforts aimed at discouraging participation by eligible voters this election season."

In January 2018, a federal district court judge lifted a decades-old consent decree barring the national Republican Party from engaging in "ballot security" efforts like  without court approval.

As The Atlantic's Vann R. Newkirk II wrote at the time, the consent decree was born out of a DNC lawsuit accusing the RNC of deploying "off-duty cops to patrol majority-minority precincts, wearing 'National Ballot Security Task Force' armbands."

Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, said in a statement that her group and other activists "intend to fight every effort to suppress any American's voting rights" now that the RNC is once again free to engage in aggressive voter intimidation campaigns.

"In the midst of a national health crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans of every political party should be working to make voting as safe and fair as possible," said Flynn. "Regrettably that is not the course taken by the Republican Party which has chosen to try to take advantage of a pandemic for partisan political gain."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

To Avert Debt Ceiling Calamity, Democrats Urged to Finally Kill the Filibuster

"The solution is to blow up the filibuster at least for debt limit votes, just as Mitch blew it up to pack the Supreme Court for his big donors."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·


PG&E Charged With 11 Felony Counts—Including Manslaughter—Over 2020 Zogg Fire

"PG&E has a history with a repeated pattern of causing wildfires that is not getting better," said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. "It's only getting worse."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Hold My Pearls': Debbie Dingell Lets Marjorie Taylor Green Have It Over Abortion Rights

The Michigan Democrat engaged in a verbal altercation with the far-right Republican lawmaker from Georgia on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo