Black Detroit voters sue Trump campaign over effort to invalidate election results

OLIVIA RUBIN
·3 min read

A group of Black voters in Detroit announced they are suing President Donald Trump and his campaign, alleging the targeted effort to overturn the election repeats one of the "worst abuses in our nation's history" by attempting to disenfranchise African American voters.

Specifically, the suit takes issue with the campaign's effort to overturn the results of the election in Michigan by blocking the certification of results in Wayne County, home to Detroit, and attempting to "intimidate" and "coerce" state and local officials into replacing electors.

MORE: Trump's efforts to flip Michigan election results raise significant legal, ethical questions: Experts

"Central to this strategy is disenfranchising voters in predominately Black cities," the suit alleges. "Repeating false claims of voter fraud, which have been thoroughly debunked, Defendants are pressuring state and local officials in Michigan not to count votes from Wayne County, Michigan (where Detroit is the county seat), and thereby disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters."

The president met Friday at the White House with lawmakers from Michigan, and made personal calls to two Republican members on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. The board members then tried to rescind certification of the election results, but the secretary of state's office has said that is not permitted.

PHOTO: Voters wearing protective masks wait in line to cast ballots at a polling location for the 2020 Presidential election in Detroit, Nov. 3, 2020. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Voters wearing protective masks wait in line to cast ballots at a polling location for the 2020 Presidential election in Detroit, Nov. 3, 2020. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)

After nearly two hours in the White House, the Michigan delegation, including Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, seemed to rebuff Trump's efforts, saying in a statement that "the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan's electoral votes."

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund said it filed the new suit in a D.C. federal court on Friday on behalf of the three voters and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. The suit asks a judge to block Trump and his campaign from "continuing to exert pressure" on officials in Michigan, or any other state.

MORE: Republican canvassers ask to 'rescind' their votes certifying Michigan election results

"Defendants' tactics 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 complaint states. "This is a moment that many of us hoped never to face."

The president and his allies have for weeks been derisively accusing residents of Detroit and Philadelphia, which have large minority populations, of orchestrating a massive election fraud -- a baseless claim for which they have produced no meaningful evidence. The complaint pours through many of those statements, which include tweets and public statements, as evidence of the effort.

"No more," the lawsuit demands. "The Voting Rights Act of 1965 flatly prohibits Defendants' efforts to disenfranchise Black people and assault our Republic."

PHOTO: Activists from 12 local organizations marched through the city to call for the protection of Detroits votes over concerns of Donald Trumps claims that Democrats stole the election in Detroit, Nov. 7, 2020. (NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Activists from 12 local organizations marched through the city to call for the protection of Detroits votes over concerns of Donald Trumps claims that Democrats stole the election in Detroit, Nov. 7, 2020. (NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE)

In a statement to ABC News, the Trump campaign did not specifically address the claims made by the group of Black voters in Detroit.

"Every American deserves to know that our elections are conducted in a legal manner, no matter who they are or where they live. That's our only goal: to ensure safe, secure, and fair elections. That's what our Constitution requires," Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis said in a statement.

ABC News has reached out to the Republican National Committee and the Michigan Republican Party for comment.

Black Detroit voters sue Trump campaign over effort to invalidate election results originally appeared on abcnews.go.com