Tuesday’s elections will be the first election since the US Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder
decision, which allows discriminatory election measures to take effect without prior notice, said senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Sean Young.
The said Supreme Court decision strips the 1965 Voting Rights Act of its full powers to fully protect the American electorate.
“That has made us particularly vigilant,” he said.
As Americans head to voting precincts, non-profit organizations are mobilizing their numbers to make sure voters’ rights are upheld and citizens are not subjected to intimidation, suppression and fraud.
“Just the presence of these concerns is a real problem, and I think the damage from all this angst will stay with us for a while,” civic organization Committee of Seventy policy program manager Patrick Christmas said.
The organization has set up a command center manned by volunteers that will field calls and monitor election results. It will also conduct a voter experience survey to gather reports of improper voter identification requests and illegal electioneering.
Meanwhile, ACLU will partner with affiliates to help protect polling locations, Young said. ACLU usually also provides ground staff and volunteers in these places to watch out for irregularities, intimidation and individuals being turned away from the precincts.
ACLU also provides litigation assistance, although it takes proactive steps to avoid going to court over election matters, Young explained, adding that the organization works with election officials to address the common issues that attend elections.
“We can’t be naïve. This election takes place in a cauldron of xenophobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism and economic anxiety, all of which has left an electorate that is over-heated, on edge and for good reason,” Cornell William Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored (NAACP) People added.
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