Voter Suppression is an Affront to Democracy

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  • David Vance
Statement by Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

In our democracy, every adult citizen has an equal vote and the right to participate. But a recent report suggesting that the Trump-Pence campaign is working to suppress the votes of some Americans is cause for alarm by all Americans.

In an inside look at the Trump campaign by Bloomberg Businessweek, Inside the Bunker with 12 Days to Go, October 27), a campaign staffer boasted of “three voter suppression efforts,” targeting women, African Americans, and liberals.

If the Trump campaign is actively involved in suppressing the vote and targeting groups based on race, gender, or political ideology, this represents the worst tactics in American politics. Courageous Americans have marched, suffered grievous injury, and even been killed so that each of us can have an equal voice and an equal vote. Any effort by a presidential campaign to actively play into people’s fears, attempt to intimidate voters, or create barriers to voter participation is an affront to democracy.

If the Trump campaign is engaged in such activities, we urge them to reverse course, denounce anyone who participated, and reaffirm in unmistakable language that every eligible American should vote. The campaign should also make clear that its supporters must not do anything on Election Day, or before, that will intimidate fellow Americans or can be construed as at attempt to prevent them from voting.

Common Cause has helped recruit more than 4,000 nonpartisan Election Protection volunteers who will be working in coalition with volunteer lawyers through Election Day. We are determined to see that every eligible voter who wants to vote can do so free of fear and intimidation, and with confidence that their vote will be counted accurately.  Our trained volunteers work to assist voters and troubleshoot problems at the polls, regardless of party or any characteristic of the voter.

Americans have a wonderful tradition of free and fair elections, followed by orderly transfers of power. As we approach the end of this campaign, that should be everyone’s goal. We hope both campaigns will encourage voter participation, not try to stop it.