(NEW YORK) – Two U.S. citizens who made robocalls to purposefully disenfranchise Black voters must be immediately barred from making more robocalls prior to the election, a request for a temporary restraining order motion filed today argues. 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 US 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 plaintiffs also allege that the defendants are responsible for a large scale, deceptive robocall campaign aimed at suppressing votes from Black Americans, and have engaged in threatening and intimidating conduct. Many of the falsehoods in the original robocalls are based on systemic inequities that are particularly likely to resonate with and intimidate Black voters.
“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,” said Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “This is about putting an end to confronting this racist, dangerous campaign of lies intended to discourage people from freely casting their ballots.”
Read the full motion here.
Read the initial lawsuit here.