April 07, 2021

Congresswoman Watson Coleman Leads Letter Calling on Attorney General to Investigate Recent Voter Suppression Efforts

Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), along with ten women from the Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on him to investigate the recent increase in proposals to limit voter access as a potential criminal conspiracy.  
In recent weeks and months, more than 40 states have introduced voter suppression legislation that threaten the very existence of our nation’s democracy. These efforts, coupled with persistent lies about voter fraud despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, are a continuous attempt to nullify the votes of millions of Black citizens, and especially Black women, in future elections. Collectively, these efforts demand the immediate attention of the chief law enforcement officer in the country. 

The letter reads, in part: 

This legislative agenda, which President Biden has correctly called ‘Jim Crow in the 21st Century,’ is supported by a chorus of messengers in the media who are committed to spreading misinformation and lies to give the impression that these voter restrictions are justified.  As legislators we are committed to holding hearings, posing questions and initiating reports to expose this conspiratorial plot aimed at undermining our democracy and influencing the direction of public policy.  As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, we ask you to similarly commit to investigating when actions to intimidate Black voters occur and if purported legislation has crossed into criminal activity under our laws, with the aim of preserving our democracy and preventing a return to the intimidation tactics of past generations. 

The signers call on Attorney General Garland to preserve our democracy and prevent a return to the intimidation tactics of past generations by investigating any actions to intimidate, suppress, or restrict Black voters; efforts that call to mind the tragic abuses of the Jim Crow era following Reconstruction, to political assassinations and the deaths of four little girls in an Alabama Church at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. 

The letter was signed by Reps. Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Terri Sewell (AL-7), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Nikema Williams (GA-5), and Judiciary Committee Members Karen Bass (CA-37) and Cori Bush (MO-1). Click here to read the letter in full.