WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement Monday responding to a proposal in the Department of Homeland Security reauthorization bill to send Secret Service agents to polling sites across the country in a move that would weaken our democracy by threatening and intimidating voters.
“This administration’s plan to unleash Secret Service agents to polling places across the country is both chilling and unprecedented. History has shown that the presence of law enforcement at the polls has the effect of chilling voter turnout, especially among minority communities. Any plans to send armed guards to polling places must be considered alongside President Trump’s recent issuance of an executive order disbanding his failed Commission on Election Integrity. It was clear from the start that President Trump launched the Commission to lay the groundwork to promote voter suppression efforts across the country. Two months after shuttering the Commission, President Trump now seeks to activate one of our federal government’s most secretive law enforcement agencies to depress and discourage minority voter participation in our midterm elections. In no uncertain terms, we condemn any plan to activate the Secret Service at our nation’s polling sites.”
With the midterm election season underway beginning this month, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is activating its national network of lawyers and volunteers through the Election Protection Coalition to ensure that eligible voters are able to cast ballots during the critical 2018 elections. The Election Protection coalition will also activate its network to monitor for the presence of law enforcement outside polling sites.