The Slatest

Michigan Group Sues Trump for Disenfranchising Black Voters

People celebrate president-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election on November 7, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.
People celebrate president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election on November 7, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. JEFF KOWALSKY/Getty Images

Three voters in Detroit have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his reelection campaign claiming that the challenges filed to the election results will disenfranchise them. The three Detroit residents alongside the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund claim that Trump and his campaign are “openly seeking to disenfranchise Black voters” by carrying out a massive effort to try to get election officials to not certify election results. Noting that the claims of voter fraud have been “thoroughly debunked,” the lawsuit says that the tactics pursued by the president and his allies “repeat the worst abuses in our nation’s history, as Black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the Republic.”

The effects of the president’s efforts go far beyond Michigan. “The president’s use of dog whistles to suggest the illegitimacy of votes cast by Black voters in Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Atlanta are an appeal to a dangerous and corrosive racialized narrative of voter fraud,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement. The Trump campaign has particularly targeted Wayne County, which includes the city of Detroit, in contesting the results of the Michigan vote. President-elect Joe Biden won Wayne County by around 332,000 votes, which was critical to his victory in the state. Earlier in the week, Rudy Giuliani claimed in a news conference that there were 300,000 “illegitimate ballots,” mainly in Detroit.

The efforts by Trump and his campaign to delay certifying the official results of the vote is “compromising the integrity of the election process,” according to the lawsuit. Trump met with members of Michigan’s legislature at the White House on Friday in what appeared to be an effort to get them on his side. After the meeting, it didn’t seem they were ready to do anything that would change the result of the election. “We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan, and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors,” state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield said in a joint statement. Making clear he isn’t giving up though, Trump tweeted at the two lawmakers on Saturday, repeating the baseless claims of voter fraud.