Civil Rights Group Invokes Ku Klux Klan Act
Two US citizens who made robocalls to purposefully disenfranchise Black voters must be ordered to stop, and monetary damages must be given to those who were affected by the robocalls, a lawsuit filed today against the citizens argues. The lawsuit claims that the two citizens engaged in a coordinated and calculated effort to intimidate the Black voters, and under the Voting Rights Act and Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, the two citizens directly interfered with voters’ rights for the 2020 general election, which is illegal.
The litigation, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation v. Wohl,, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP are representing the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and eight registered voters in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
“Voting is a sacred civic duty and it is despicable for anyone to use lies or threats to scare someone away from the polls,” said David Brody, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “As new technologies connect more people more easily, we must enforce and enhance our civil rights laws to protect against racism and voter suppression at scale.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants’ actions are racially motivated, given the contents of their phone calls and their targeting of communities with large Black populations. Many of the call’s falsehoods are based on systemic inequities that are particularly likely to resonate with and intimidate Black voters. The case seeks immediate relief from the court to prohibit the defendants from engaging in additional voter intimidation robocalls before the election.
“We believe it is our responsibility as lawyers to put a stop to this flagrant attempt at racially motivated voter suppression on the eve of a presidential election,” said Amy Walsh, a partner in Orrick’s New York office representing the plaintiff’s pro bono. “We are confident the court will halt this ugly campaign of lies and disinformation, which is clearly aimed at dissuading minority populations in many states from exercising their right to vote.”
If the court does not act, the defendants will be able to continue their campaign of intimidation, a clear act of voter suppression.
Plaintiffs said the following:
“The actions taken by these two individuals was a clear attack on Black voters in the middle of a major general election,” saidMelanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “This suit is about putting an end to confronting this racist, dangerous campaign of lies intended to discourage people from freely casting their ballots.” Melanie is available to comment on the developments of the case and interview to discuss
Read the full lawsuit here.