Intentionally Violated Constitutional Law to Suppress the Votes of Millions of Minorities
The election was rigged intentionally. It took years to successfully execute this plan. And because white supremacy is built on white power – the rigging of the election depended on the silencing of minority voters.
This strategy involved a 3-pronged approach. The first involved voter purging. The second involved voter suppression. And the third involved voter intimidation. All three practices, while widely applied and uncontested at the state and local levels, are illegal. Not only are they illegal, but they are criminal. As 18 USC 241 reads,
“If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;…They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.…” - 18 USC 241
For their direct parts in depriving millions of minorities of their Constitutional right to vote in the Election of 2016 through voter suppression, criminal charges can and should be filed against Charles Koch, David Koch, Bert Rein, Ed Blum, the Donor’s Trust, the American Enterprise Institute, Wiley Rein, the Project on Fair Representation, and any organization, individual or government official that participated in the strategic efforts to suppression minority votes.
Specifically, the Project on Fair Representation sought to remove the provision that required certain jurisdictions to gain approval of the federal government before making changes to their voting policies. The removal of this restriction would allow states to adopt restrictions and engage in practices that directly benefitted the Republican party and the alt-right agenda by making preventing millions of minorities from casting a vote. In 2013, they were successful.
With funding from the Donor’s Trust, led by Ed Blum and legally engineered by Bert Rein the alt-right used the Project on Fair Representation to challenge Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in court. This section required that states and localities that had been found to have formulaically engaged in voter suppression would have to gain a “preclearance” from the Attorney General or the US District Court for the District of Colombia before making changes to voting policies and requirements. This preclearance was legislated to ensure that alterations to voting policy would “not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, and unless and until the court enters such judgment no person shall be denied the right to vote for failure to comply with such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure.”
Ed Blum and Bert Rein set out to weaken this section by challenging the formula used to determine which states and regions had to submit to the pre-clearance standard. They carefully chose their test case, which happened to be in Jeff Sessions’ territory – the state of Alabama. On behalf of Shelby County, Blum and Rein filed charges against the Attorney General in the US District Court in Washington, D.C. They took this case all the way to the Supreme Court where they argued that the formula that dictates which states and regions should be subject to the preclearance test is unconstitutional in the case of Shelby County vs Holder.
And they won.
The Department of Justice explains, “On June 25, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to use the coverage formula in Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act to determine which jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance requirement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Shelby County v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 2612 (2013). The Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of Section 5 itself. The effect of the Shelby County decision is that the jurisdictions identified by the coverage formula in Section 4(b) no longer need to seek preclearance for the new voting changes, unless they are covered by a separate court order entered under Section 3(c) of the Voting Rights Act.”
In a 5 to 4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court Ruled in favor of Shelby County and Blum, Rein, Adelson, Koch and Koch celebrated a victory in the alt-right struggle to dismantle the rights of minorities.
This victory was not solely a philosophical one. In fact, it was a specific and strategic maneuver connected to a much larger plan to suppress the minority vote in efforts to alter the outcome of the 2016 election. This victory opened the door for the alt-right network behind Trump to fully launch their 3-pronged strategy to purge, suppress and intimidate minority voters in efforts to secure the White House.
The Interstate Crosscheck System, for example, which successfully and illegally purged over 1.1 million voters from the voting record before the 2016 election, could not have so easily secured the participation of states like Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Arizona and Virginia without the gutting of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
This strategy, which was also designed and implemented by the alt-right network behind the Donald Trump campaign, had been tried and tested by this network under the administration of Secretary of State Kris Kobach since 2005. Illegal, but largely uncontested, the alt-right and the GOP launched a full-scale effort to make sure that enough Secretaries of State would be elected in 2014 to ensure the interstate voting purge system would be functioning for the 2016 election. The alt-right\white supremacist network behind Trump also used Kobach to formally promote the adoption of a number of other voter suppression tactics including,
“(1) requiring a government-issued photo ID for voting in person, (2) requiring either a Kansas driver’s license number or photocopy of a current photo ID for applying for a mail-in ballot, and (3) requiring a document proving U.S. citizenship when a person registers to vote for the first time. Consequently, Kansas elections are the most secure in the nation against fraud.”
All of these practices while largely uncontested at the federal level and widely supported by members of the alt-right\white supremacist voting bloc, are still illegal under federal law. And while the alt-right network behind the Trump administration may have temporarily suspended the effectiveness of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, they still have Section 2 to answer to. It reads:
“No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”
The Secretaries of State and other political officials placing restrictions on voting rights, may consistently declare their opposition to federal authority, but they are also still bound by it under 18 USC 242 which reads:
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both…”
Illegal, well-funded and largely uncontested, though, these strategies were allowed to permeate the majority of the states in the nation. Currently, there are 31 states that impose voter id restrictions and 3 states that require proof of citizenship. Despite rhetorical debate, in function these restrictions prevent Black, Latino, Poor, Elderly and Disabled Voters from casting ballots. This function supports the goals of the alt-right\white supremacist network very well, and it is criminally punishable under federal law. But only if charges are brought against the individuals and organizations responsible by the Attorney General of the United States.
In addition to ID requirements, polling closures, restrictions of early voting, reductions of absentee ballot opportunities and refusal to comply with ADA standards were also applied in efforts to suppress the minority vote.
As the Nation reports, “The Leadership Conference for Civil Rights surveyed 381 of the 800 counties previously covered by Section 5 where polling place information was available in 2012 or 2014 and found there are 868 fewer places to cast a ballot in 2016 in these areas.” The visible effects of these closures were lines in which voters had to wait for hours in order to cast their vote. The less visible results were the inability for poor, minority, elderly and disabled voters to access the polling booth.
These same communities were also negatively impacted by the restrictions placed on early voting and absentee ballots. Failure to provide these alternatives to minority communities also resulted in the disenfranchisement of millions of minority voters. And while engaging in efforts to suppress voters of color, the alt-right also successfully oversaw one of the greatest attacks on the Americans with Disabilities Act since its passage.
1 in 6 – or 35,000,000 – voters are living with a disability. During the 2008 election, only 25% of polling places were found to be accessible. The result was the disenfranchisement of millions of voters with disabilities. The 2016 suppression attempts functioned to suppress millions more disabled votes in this year’s election.
Without preventing minorities from voting in key states and counties, Donald Trump likely would not have won the 2016 presidential election. He arguably would not have even come close.
Currently, there is mounting evidence to suggest that the Russian authorities intentionally engaged in efforts to alter the 2016 election. These accusations should absolutely be investigated and charges should be brought against those that participated. However, the alt-right did not need the help of Russia to purge, suppress and intimidate enough voters to win the House or the Senate. They did not need the Russians to fully take control of Congress. And they did not need the Russians to help them prevent millions of minority votes from being cast in favor of the Democratic Candidate, Hillary Clinton.
All the white supremacist network behind Donald Trump needed to win the election was the same thing they have needed since the Confederacy fell to the Union – to prevent minorities from voting.
This is what won Trump the election. This is the blatant and traceable illegal activity that changed the name of the winner of the Presidential Election of 2016 and arguably the names of the winners down the ballot. And this is the strategic effort that should bring the Trump Team and the alt-right network behind him up on charges.
Charges for potential violation of the laws described above can only be brought by United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch. As such, the Strategic Institute for Intersectional Policy is asking for people to call her at the Department of Justice at 202-353-1555 or TTY/ASCII/TDD: 800-877-8339 and leave a message asking her to press charges against the members of the Trump Campaign for voter suppression.