A federal lawsuit filed by a group of Detroit voters claims that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is discriminating against Black voters by trying to block the certification of votes in Wayne County, Mich. The development comes in the midst of Trump launching lawsuits in several states attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which he soundly lost.
The Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and three Detroit residents filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday (Nov. 20).
“The Voting Rights Act of 1965 flatly prohibits Defendants’ efforts to disenfranchise Black people and assault our Republic,” the lawsuit states. “This is a moment that many of us hoped never to face. But we are here, and the law is clear. It is time to enforce it.”
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The litigation claims that Trump has been pressuring state elections officials to delay the certification of the election in Michigan. It was filed two days after two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers at first decided to go against certifying the votes, but then changed their mindsafter a backlash. They now are reportedly trying to rescind that decision, after one of them received a call from Trump. Still, there is no legal provision that would allow this.
The lawsuit claims that Black voters have been disenfranchised because Detroit, the largest city in Wayne County and in Michigan, is 78.6 percent Black. Wayne County has a 38.7 percent Black population.
“As I understand it, the lawsuit is designed to prevent folks from misusing the vote in the election of Wayne County folks, in particular, people in Detroit and not to delay...the right of the people,” Rev. Wendell Anthony, who is president of the Detroit Branch NAACP, told local news station WDIV. The branch hired the lawyers who filed the suit.
As the lawsuit hit the courts, Michigan was waiting on Monday afternoon (Nov. 23) for its state board of canvassers to finally certify the election. But there is fear that the board could deadlock on that act, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Republican National Committee, which has been backing Trump, sent a joint letter to the canvassers asking them to delay the certification for 14 days and separately audit Wayne County’s votes, for which the committee claims election “irregularities.”
Those, among other claims the president has lodged in various states, have been baseless and have had no evidence behind them. President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump 50.6 percent to 47.8 percent in Michigan, according to CBS News.
But any irregularities would not likely overturn the state’s election results. The Michigan Bureau of Elections recommended certification of the election on Friday, saying there were fewer errors in the 2020 vote than there were in the 2016 vote. Trump narrowly won Michigan that year.
"As in past elections, some jurisdictions made errors in reporting unofficial results," the board’s report said, according to the Free Press. "These errors are all attributable to human error in the operation of tools used to report unofficial results, did not affect the actual tabulation of votes, and were identified and corrected."