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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will monitor elections across the country on Tuesday through its national Election Protection program with a focus on Pennsylvania, Missouri (municipal elections), New Mexico, Maryland, Indiana, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., Montana, and South Dakota. The following is a statement from Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“We are sounding an alarm regarding the potential deployment of the National Guard, state police and local law enforcement on Tuesday as voters prepare to cast ballots in primary elections. History has shown that law enforcement can have a chilling effect on African Americans and voters of color. Events over the past few days have shown that law enforcement presence can escalate tensions and sow chaos. Deployment of military and law enforcement, along with their militarized equipment, not only unnecessarily escalates tensions on the ground with demonstrators but also can stand to discourage people from freely casting their ballot. In advance of Tuesday’s elections, we urge officials to immediately withdraw law enforcement, terminate curfews and eliminate other draconian actions that could chill voter turnout.

“Voting is the most powerful form of protest in our democracy and it should never be impeded.”