ACLU calls on DOJ to investigate Border Patrol for voter intimidation

ACLU calls on DOJ to investigate Border Patrol for voter intimidation
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is demanding the Department of Justice (DOJ) launch an investigation into whether the U.S. Border Patrol intimidated voters by scheduling a “crowd control” exercise near a polling place in Texas. 

The U.S. Border Patrol ultimately canceled the exercise, which ACLU said was planned to take place in an almost exclusively Hispanic neighborhood less than a mile from a polling place on Tuesday. Civil rights groups raised concerns that holding the exercise on Election Day would scare Hispanic voters away from the polls.

But in a letter to the voting section of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division Tuesday night, the ACLU and the ACLU of Texas said there were reports of heavy armored units, horseback riders and other mobile units in the neighborhood Tuesday morning.

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ACLU is now calling on DOJ to launch an investigation into whether the border patrol violated the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits the intimidation of voters through words or actions.

“Voter intimidation has no place in our elections and is illegal,” Sophia Lin Lakin, a staff attorney for the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement.

“Yet the Border Patrol was planning to proceed with this intimidating crowd control exercise for no good reason on Election Day. We are asking that the DOJ investigate that decision, particularly in light of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMia Love pulls ahead in Utah race as judge dismisses her lawsuit Trump administration denies exploring extradition of Erdoğan foe for Turkey Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future' MORE’s menacing tweet yesterday calling for law enforcement to aggressively monitor supposed concerns about mythical illegal voting.”

A Border Patrol representative told The Hill earlier on Tuesday that the exercise had been postponed "out of an abundance of caution and due to inaccurate reporting that caused unneeded confusion in border communities."

In a tweet on Monday, President Trump said law enforcement had been put on notice to watch for illegal voting and warned anyone caught committing voter fraud would suffer the maximum criminal penalties allowed.

“Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday’s Election (or Early Voting). Anyone caught will be subject to the Maximum Criminal Penalties allowed by law. Thank you!,” he tweeted.