With primary elections underway in many states, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will monitor them nationwide as the looming and militarized presence of police and the National Guard could have a negative affect on election day, according to a press release. The committee urged “officials to immediately withdraw law enforcement, terminate curfews and eliminate other draconian actions” ahead of election day.
“Voting is the most powerful form of protest in our democracy and it should never be impeded,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said.
Because history has shown “that law enforcement can have a chilling effect on African Americans and voters of color,” Clarke said, the committee’s national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition will ensure “all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count,” the website stated. Their focus will be on Pennsylvania, Missouri (municipal elections), New Mexico, Maryland, Indiana, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., Montana, and South Dakota.
“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,” Clarke said. “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.”