Black voters in Beaumont were intimidated by white poll workers, who asked them to loudly recite their address after already being checked in.
BEAUMONT, TX– The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed emergency voting rights litigation on behalf of the Beaumont Branch of the NAACP and an individual Texas voter due to egregious voter intimidation at a historically Black polling location. The Lawyers’ Committee, which operates a nonpartisan Election Protection hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, received multiple complaints about white poll workers at the Beaumont polling place asking Black voters to loudly recite their addresses after already being checked in and verified to vote, in a gross instance of invasion of privacy and voter intimidation. After an emergency hearing last night, Judge Michael J. Truncale prohibited all election judges, clerks, workers, volunteers, or watchers at the John Paul Davis Community Center from requesting voters to publicly recite their addresses before allowing them to vote, positioning themselves where they can view voters’ selections, refusing to assist with scanning ballots, or otherwise turning away voters who are duly eligible to vote.
“Our country has a long and disgraceful history of voter suppression. Once again, we are confronted by anti-democratic actors determined to silence the voices of people of color. These actors are growing increasingly bold, putting the very principles of our democracy under unprecedented threats,” said Damon Hewitt, President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “So long as anti-democratic forces find new and persistent ways to try and silence us, Lawyers’ Committee will fight for everyone’s constitutional right to vote–without interference–as we’re doing in Beaumont today. We cannot achieve a true democracy while Black voters are still being intimidated at the ballot box, in Texas and across the country.”
As outlined in the complaint, being asked to recite their addresses was only one instance of voter intimidation that Black voters confronted at the voting center. Poll workers also followed Black voters around the polling place, neglected to show Black voters how to scan their ballot, and created an overall intimidating and hostile environment for Black voters.
“Justice was served last night. We must remember that this is a voting location overly utilized by the African American community,” said Beaumont NAACP President Rev. Michael Cooper. “Poll workers are paid by taxpayer dollars. If you’re a poll worker, you’re a poll worker for the people. I’m thankful for Judge Truncale’s fair assessment to ensure that Black voters in Beaumont won’t face any additional violations as they exercise their right to vote.”
“We appreciate Judge Truncale’s careful consideration of the evidence and rapid action to help ensure that all voters can participate—free from intimidation—in the democratic process,” said Sadik Huseny, Partner, Latham & Watkins.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to mobilize the nation’s leading lawyers as agents for change in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Lawyers’ Committee uses legal advocacy to achieve racial justice, fighting inside and outside the courts to ensure that Black people and other people of color have the voice, opportunity, and power to make the promises of our democracy real. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org