Citing Donald Trump’s controversial call to his supporters to challenge voters at the polls, a leading civil rights group is urging international election monitors to beef up their efforts to observe this November’s U.S. presidential contest.
It’s the latest reflection of deep concern among voting rights advocates about potential voter intimidation and suppression this fall.
In a letter sent Saturday, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights asked the Warsaw, Poland-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to “greatly expand” its U.S. election monitoring program.
“A confluence of factors,” the civil rights group said, has made racial discrimination in voting a greater threat than at any time in recent history.
“The unprecedented weakening of the Voting Rights Act has led to a tidal wave of voter discrimination efforts nationwide and has required the United States to drastically scale back its own election monitoring program,” wrote Wade Henderson and Nancy Zirkin, president and vice president respectively of the Washington, D.C.-based Leadership Conference.
“In addition, a leading presidential candidate who has made the demonetization of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities a hallmark of his campaign has recently urged supporters to challenge voters at polling sites nationwide.”
The letter also urged OSCE to target its resources on states where racial discrimination in voting or voter intimidation are particular threats. It singled out Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Texas.
All those states have imposed restrictive voting laws or rules in recent years, though several have been blocked or softened by courts.