Heard on All Things Considered

NAACP to Monitor Voter Intimidation at the Polls in Detroit

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Image credit: Russ McNamara

The Detroit Chapter of the NAACP will have people at the polls monitoring for threats and have set up a hotline to report intimidation.

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The rise of emboldened white militia groups in the state and a foiled plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer have raised concerns about safety on Election Day. As a result, members of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP are urging residents to report any problems at the polls.


REPORT PROBLEMS AT THE POLLS
NAACP Voter Intimidation Hotline: 313-644-2424


Detroit NAACP President Reverend Wendell Anthony says voter intimidation in the city will not be tolerated. “These threats of folks coming into places like Detroit, possibly brandishing armed weapons at polling places, is unacceptable,” says Anthony.

Anthony says the NAACP will have people at the polls monitoring for threats. 

The group has also set up a hotline to report intimidation.

Detroit NAACP General Counsel Chui Karega says poll watchers and voters shouldn’t hesitate to contact the group. “We have eyes and we have ears. And we will be at virtually every polling place in the city in this county in the state, making sure that if anything happens, anything goes wrong, anybody starts brandishing a weapon, we will be there,” says Karega.

Voter intimidation doesn’t have to be violent, according to Karega. He says harassment and threats to call police are coercive acts.

Michigan Election Officials Step In

Michigan government officials have also taken steps to prevent voter intimidation and coercion.

Earlier this month, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged two Republican operatives with election intimidation over misleading robocalls intended to suppress the vote in the traditional Democratic stronghold of Detroit.

In an attempt to prevent voter intimidation at the polls, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson banned the open carry of guns at polling places on Election Day. That ban was subsequently struck down by a Court of Claims judge. AG Nessel announced almost immediately after the decision that her office would appeal to the Court of Appeals.

Regardless of threats of violence and voter suppression, Reverend Wendell Anthony is confident that Detroiters will not be swayed from going to the polls. “We will not give up the right for our vote. These obstacles make us even more determined to take our soles to the polls and vote like our lives depend upon it. Because quite frankly, they do.”

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Russ McNamara, Host, All Things Considered

Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. While working as an audio engineer for ABC Sports, he was sprayed with champagne as the Detroit Pistons celebrated their championship in 2004.

russmcnamara@wdet.org

2020 Voter Information Center

This post is a part of 2020 Voter Information Center.

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