Civil rights groups go to trial in New York to stop voter suppression

AmNews Staff Reports | 10/17/2019, 12:12 p.m.
The trial begins this week in a voting rights case that will affect hundreds of thousands of voters in New ...
Polling station voters sign Nia Sanders

The trial begins this week in a voting rights case that will affect hundreds of thousands of voters in New York City and statewide.

The case, which is led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Common Cause New York, together with pro bono law firm Dechert LLP and LatinoJustice PRLDEF, is being heard at a federal courthouse in Manhattan by Judge Allison J. Nathan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The lawsuit, Common Cause New York v. Brehm, challenges New York State’s practice of removing thousands of eligible voters from the poll books used on Election Day and forcing these voters to cast provisional ballots, which may or may not be counted. These practices not only add to wait times at polling places but regularly disenfranchise eligible voters, disproportionately affect minority, low-income and young voters.

In recent years, many New York voters have contacted the Lawyers’ Committee through its Election Protection hotline to report difficulties and share their voting experiences. Election Protection not only provides information and resources to voters nationwide, but also assists voters in documenting the issues they have experienced so that jurisdictions can be held accountable for their election practices.