LCCR Calls on Parties to Cease and Desist Poll Challenge Activities

Media 10.20,04

Washington – Citing recent poll challenge efforts by the Democratic and Republican parties, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, today called on the chairmen of both parties to “cease and desist.”

In letters to Terry McAuliffe and Ed Gillespie, Wade Henderson, executive director of LCCR, expressed his “deep concern about recent reports that partisan entities, including the Republican and Democratic Parties, plan to conduct aggressive challenges to voters at the polls during the November 2nd general election that are likely to impact minority voters more harshly than non-minority voters.”

In his letter to the two party leaders, Henderson noted a report in the Akron Beacon-Journal that the Republican and Democratic parties plan to invoke a little-used 1953 Ohio state law to put challengers at the polls, “a move that could create additional mayhem on November 2.”

“We have worked too hard for too long to enfranchise racial and ethnic minority voters in this country,” said Henderson. “We fought for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other laws to ensure that every American has a right to vote and has a right to have his or her vote counted.”

In his letter to McAuliffe and Gillespie, Henderson wrote, “In light of the widespread disenfranchisement of minority voters in 2000, it is more important than ever that this November’s election proceed smoothly and equitably. The insertion of large numbers of partisan challengers into an electoral mix that already includes new identification and provisional ballot procedures threatens to create chaotic conditions that will again disenfranchise large numbers of eligible minority voters.”