Every person in the United States should live their lives feeling safe and secure, and free from hate at all times. And during this election period, local community leaders, civil rights advocates, and state and local officials are working together to ensure that voters can cast their ballots free from voter intimidation. People are already voting in numbers we have not seen before; every ballot cast is in defiance of the efforts of white supremacists who have in recent weeks engaged in additional activity to perpetuate hate and undermine our democracy. Indeed, white supremacists, including violent white nationalists, continue to threaten and attack immigrants, Black, Latino, Asian American, and other communities of color, members of the LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, and religious minorities with impunity – emboldened by the president’s rhetoric and his actions.
Within minutes of the president calling on the Proud Boys to ‘stand back and stand by’ during the first presidential debate this year, members and supporters of this virulently anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, anti-immigrant and racist gang celebrated the president’s words as a call to action. And when the president encouraged his violent white supremacist supporters “to go into the polls and watch very carefully,” many heard a call to intimidate and harass voters, a fear bolstered by the actions of armed white supremacist, right-wing militias that have garnered support from the president throughout his term, including in recent months as they confronted anti-racist protesters.
These calls to violence did not emerge out of thin air. During the last national election cycle, and over the course of this administration, white supremacists have been emboldened when the president and many of his loyalists deploy divisive rhetoric and enact racist policies like the Muslim Ban, family separation, violent crackdowns on peaceful, anti-racism protestors, attempts to weaponize the census, and silencing voters of color. Words of hate beget acts of hate. Policies of violence beget acts of violence. The FBI has acknowledged just how dangerous white supremacist organizations and people who ascribe to their racist ideologies are to our national security. Recent DHS reports confirm that white supremacists pose the gravest terror threat to the United States.
Despite these obvious and violent threats, in a sign of real strength for our belief in our institutions and democracy and for people targeted for hate by violent, white nationalist gangs, we are seeing an unprecedented number of voters submit their ballots before election day, and a determination to ensure a very strong voter turnout on election day itself. We also know that together, we are strong enough to defeat these violent gangs of white nationalists. After a summer and fall of Black-led protests demanding justice and systemic accountability, as well as the words and acts of other communities targeted for hate who recognize combating anti-Blackness is central to combating all forms of racism and discrimination, we know that together we will not permit these violent, white nationalist gangs undermine our right to vote.
Here are resources from leaders and organizations across the country designed to protect voters and all people during this election period and beyond from the threat of violent, white nationalist gangs. Advocates, legal scholars, grassroots organizers and activists have come together to ensure that the truth about these violent hate mongers is understood and people have the information and the tools to defeat them.
The threat of white nationalist violence is as old as our country, and the work highlighted here represents just a fraction of the work that people have been doing for generations to combat white supremacy. Share these resources with others combating hate and to help hold your public officials accountable.
Report Voter Intimidation
Election Protection: Hosted by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, this non-partisan, national hotline enables you to report any problems you confront while voting or to ask questions about the general election.
Call: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
Share Resources with Federal, State and Local Elected Officials, Law Enforcement, and Community Leaders About Tools to Fight Unlawful Voter Intimidation
- The Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP), Fact Sheet: Protecting Against Voter Intimidation (2020) What Constitutes Voter Intimidation with Q and A on 1st Amendment Implications
- ADL, Countering Election Related Violence, Seven Actions Policymakers Need to Take Now to Advance Election Security (2020)
- The Brennan Center for Justice, Dangers of ‘Ballot Security’ Operations: Preventing Intimidation, Discrimination, and Disruption (2016)
- Crime and Justice Institute Report, “Preparing for the 2020 Election.” (2020) A framework for public safety agencies to advance planning for the election and post-election period, with details on norming, community outreach, safety, and communications.
- James Byrd, Jr. Center to Stop Hate, The Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, Hate in Elections: How Racism and Bigotry Threaten Election Integrity in the United States: A report featuring legal background and a q and a for what voters and candidates experiencing harassment can do.
- The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Civil Rights Coalition Letter re: DOJ and FBI Obligation and Opportunity to Protect Voters from White Nationalist Threats: Highlights the obligation of DOJ, including the Civil Rights Division and the FBI, to protect voters throughout the election period from violence and intimidation of white nationalist groups.
Resources to empower election officials and others to protect Americans from firearms intimidation and harassment while exercising their constitutional right to vote.
- Everytown for Gun Safety, “Preventing and Responding to Illegal Armed Voter Intimidation and Election Interference” (2020) The combination of the pandemic’s public-health challenges with the possibility that extremists may try to disrupt voting presents a unique test for public officials seeking to ensure a safe and orderly election for everybody. But the law is clear: intimidating voters or election personnel is illegal, and that includes armed intimidation. Local officials should act now, first, by understanding the law, and second, by taking steps immediately to prevent and prepare to respond to potential voter intimidation and election interference, including by spreading the word that such conduct will not be tolerated.
- Giffords Law Center: Preventing Armed Voter Intimidation: A State-by-State Analysis (2020). As Election Day approaches, the potential for openly carried firearms at polling places, election offices where votes are tallied, or other spaces crucial to voters casting their ballots creates a serious risk of disenfranchising Americans, particularly Black and Brown voters.
Resources About White Nationalists– These Groups Are NOT Protected by the Constitution and States Have Laws to Combat Them – Share with Local Government and Law Enforcement Leaders
- Institute for Constitutional Advocacy (ICAP), Addressing the Rise of Unlawful Paramilitaries, with 50 state surveys and information sheets about laws to enforce against militia groups (2020) In anticipation of possible unlawful militias intimidating voters at the polls, Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) has released fact sheets on unlawful militias for all 50 states. The fact sheets provide key information about lawful and unlawful militias, state laws prohibiting private militias and paramilitary activity, and what to do if citizens see groups of armed individuals near polling places.
- AJC Global Jewish Advocacy, Position Paper: QAnon (2020) AJC provides a background on QAnon, a loosely organized, far-right network of people who believe the world is controlled by a satanic cabal of pedophiles and cannibals, made up of politicians (mostly Democrats), mainstream media, journalists, and Hollywood entertainers. AJC calls on federal, state and local government officials to unequivocally condemn QAnon, and for the FBI to investigate their connections to domestic terrorism activity.
- The Brennan Center, Voters Should Not Be Intimidated: There are strict limits on what the military, law enforcement, and private militias or other vigilantes can do at the polls (2020) Explains that the law “is crystal clear: it is illegal to deploy federal troops or armed federal law enforcement officers to any polling place. State and local laws and practices place limits on the role of law enforcement and poll watchers. And a host of federal and state laws, many of which also carry severe criminal penalties, prevent anyone — whether a law enforcement officer or a vigilante — from harassing or intimidating voters.”
- The Brennan Center, Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement with Recommendations for Federal, State, and Local Leaders (2020) After a self -described local militia member shot and killed an anti-racist protestor in Kenosha, videos of local law enforcement offering the shooter and other white militia members water and gratitude quickly surfaced. More recently, in a bizarre and deeply disturbing video, a Sheriff in Michigan defended local far-right militia members who attempted to kidnap the Governor. In Ft. Worth, Texas, a police officer was fired after an investigation into his racist social media activity. This report includes recommendations for all levels of government.
What You Can Do
Vote Your Values
Tell Social Media Companies to Stop Profiting Off of Hate
Hold Leaders Accountable
Demand Reform Through Legislation That Undermines White Supremacy
- Demand the Senate pass common-sense gun safety laws.
- Demand the Senate Pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, the Use of Existing Hate Crimes and Other Federal Charges against White Nationalists, and Protect Against New Federal Charges that Will Target Black Communities, Muslim Communities and Others Targeted for Hate: The DTPA Offers Resources to the Federal Offices with Capacity to Monitor and Respond to Threats, ensures public accountability, and protects the Communities Targeted for Hate by White Supremacists by rejecting failed counterterrorism policies, programs, and frameworks that have inherent flaws rooted in bias, discrimination, and denial or diminution of fundamental rights like due process.
- Tell Your Representative to Support the Jabara Heyer NO HATE Act. To fight hate, we must first understand it. In order to make meaningful progress toward combating violence against our most vulnerable communities, we must have reliable, accurate data collection. The bicameral, bipartisan Jabara Heyer NO HATE Act will improve our government’s approach to addressing hate. To honor Khalid Jabara, Heather Heyer, and all victims of hate, urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor and pass the Jabara Heyer NO HATE Act now.
Show All Workers are Essential
Join the fight to end family separation and the dehumanization of immigrants. Trump’s racist policies like family separation, family detention, and the Muslim Ban are devastating our Latinx, Muslim, and immigrant communities. Horrific conditions, including the use of medical procedures that sterilize women without their consent and fail to protect men, women, and children from COVID-19 outbreaks, are well documented. Immigrants are essential – to our families, communities, and our economy, legalization and a path to citizenship must be a priority for the next Congress, and immigrants must be included in any COVID-19 recovery package.
- Refuse to be erased. The 2020 Census continues and will have a lasting impact on the resources available to our communities. If your community isn’t fully counted in the 2020 Census, you will miss out on political representation, on money for your children’s classrooms, on jobs and health care centers for the next 10 years. Trump’s racist attempt to weaponize the census by adding a citizenship question failed – and now it is time to make sure you are counted.
Black Justice is Our Justice – Join People from Across Different Communities in Celebrating Solidarity and Power in the Fight Against Anti-Blackness
The Leadership Conference Education Fund is proud to partner with the Black Alliance for Justice Immigration (BAJI) to launch our 501 (c)(3) campaign, Black Justice is Our Justice. As white nationalist groups feel emboldened during this election period, this campaign combats the fear that some use to sow division between communities of color, Black communities, religious minorities, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, and others with hope, love, and action. Our campaign highlights stories of real and meaningful solidarity and unity among diverse immigrant groups and other communities targeted for hate. It demonstrates the harm of criminalization.
The national campaign starts by centering both Black immigrants as well as Black people disenfranchised due to the criminal legal system. The campaign recognizes that in this country, we must fight anti-Blackness in order to combat all forms of racism and discrimination. Across the U.S., as Black communities are rising for justice, there is unprecedented recognition that criminalization has denied Black people their inherent civil rights and liberties. The campaign undermines tactics white supremacists use to divide diverse immigrant communities and others targeted for hate. In the weeks before the election, it celebrates the power of immigrants and returning citizens who may not be able to vote, but still have the power to encourage their families and friends to vote and to engage in their communities. This campaign celebrates the strength in solidarity between and among communities.
Black Justice is Immigrant Justice, Black Justice is Asian American Justice, Black Justice is LGBTQ Justice, Black Justice is Muslim Justice. Black Justice is Our Justice.
Join the fight for justice, inclusion, and fairness for all.