ACLU Report Identifies Critical States and Counties at High Risk of Ballot Interference Against Voters of Color

Discounting Mail-In Ballots Will Disenfranchise Communities of Color and Distort Election Outcomes in Key Counties in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia

October 28, 2020 2:30 pm

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NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union has released a report titled Racial Justice Demands That Every Vote Is Counted,” which identifies states and their counties where discounting mail-in ballots would disproportionately disenfranchise communities of color and potentially improperly change the outcome of the Nov. 3 election.

The analysis looks at Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — three states widely acknowledged as critical to determining the outcome of the presidential race. These states don’t begin processing mail-in ballots until Election Day or the day before, increasing the danger of a confusing, unfounded, and premature victory call. Their status on the electoral map means they could also be targets for problematic ballot rejections or even an attempt to interfere with a full count of mail-in ballots during counting.

The analysis also looks at Georgia, where the gap in vote-by-mail usage by race is particularly large, and the threat of disenfranchisement of voters of color is high.

Key points include:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in the number of voters who are expected to cast a mail-in ballot. Communities of color are disproportionately planning to vote by mail — nationwide, and in the key states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
  • The analysis identifies counties where disregarding or improperly treating mail-in ballots is likely to have the greatest impact on election outcomes and representation of voters of color.
  • The counties that will have the highest number of mail-in ballots from voters of color are exactly those where the mail-in vote can change the outcome of the election — places that could be targets for interference.
  • Discounting the by-mail vote and the votes of communities of color can improperly change the course of the election.

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