13 Facts Showing Why Civil Rights Leaders Are Asking for Extra International Election Monitors this November

AlterNet editor's note: On August 23, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights announced its request to an international election-monitoring body for additional Election-Day scrutiny of polling places for the 2016 presidential election. The letter sent by the LCCH to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reads, in part: "Now a presidential candidate—who has made demonizing minorities a central part of his campaign strategy—is encouraging his supporters to challenge voters at polls in 'certain sections' of Pennsylvania, an apparent reference to 59 mostly African-American precincts. Efforts at voter intimidation stemming back to the mid-1970s resulted in a federal court banning the Republican Party from engaging in challenge and intimidation efforts aimed at voters of color." Below is an index of facts about the past and present state of voting rights in the United States.


1. Number of years since the U.S. last held a presidential election that wasn't conducted under a fully operational Voting Rights Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court weakened significantly in its 2013 Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder decision: 50

2. Under the Voting Rights Act, number of states to which the U.S. Justice Department dispatched poll monitors during the 2004 election: 25

3. Thanks to Shelby, number of states to which the Justice Department will be allowed to deploy monitors this year, and only because of federal court rulings: 5*

4. Year in which federal observers monitoring an election in Shelby County documented the closing of doors on African-American voters during voting hours and voting officials using racial epithets: 2012

5. Date on which the Trump campaign, which has stoked fears over what is in fact virtually nonexistent voter fraud, began inviting visitors to its website to sign up as a "Trump Election Observer": 8/13/2016

6. Year in which a federal court, in a case involving charges of voter intimidation in African-American and Latino neighborhoods, issued a consent decree that's still in place preventing the Republican National Committee from engaging in some voter fraud prevention efforts without prior court consent, especially in areas where racial or ethnic makeup could be considered a motivating factor: 1982

7. Date on which the Republican elections board chair in Henderson County, North Carolina, announced that he had discussed with the local sheriff the idea of deputizing and arming civilians to patrol the polls before abandoning it as unfeasible: 8/16/2016

8. Date on which a Trump supporter in Florida tweeted a photograph of a pickup with a cage in the truck bed and the message, "Florida, we gonna landslide TRUMP … We gonna be watch'n fer shenanigans … & haul ya away": 8/19/2016

9. Date on which the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, citing the weakening of the Voting Rights Act and Trump's call for election observers, sent a letter asking the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to expand its election monitoring mission in the U.S. and target resources to states where voter discrimination and intimidation is most likely, including Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas: 8/20/2016

10. Year OSCE began sending observers to monitor U.S. elections: 2002

11. Year in which Greg Abbott, then the Republican attorney general of Texas and now the state's governor, threatened to arrest OSCE monitors sent to his state: 2012

12. Number of observers OSCE sent to monitor the last U.S. presidential election: 44

13. Minimum number of observers OSCE is planning to send this year: 500

* Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, and New York.

(Click on figure to go to source.)

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