Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Plaintiffs’ and Plaintiff-Intervenors’ Motion for Summary Judgment on the Federal Claims – Nat’l Coal. on Black Civic Participation v. Wohl

In August 2020, far-right conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman launched a robocall campaign targeting voters in Black neighborhoods in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and New York. The robocalls spread misinformation about mail-in voting, urging people not to trust mail-in voting and falsely warning that their personal information could be used by “police departments to track down old warrants” and “credit card companies to collect outstanding debt.” According to Wohl and Burkman, they intended to “hijack this boring election.”

Misleading voters and threatening them with consequences for exercising their right to vote are time-tested voter intimidation tactics that violate multiple federal laws. Appropriately, Wohl and Burkman have faced a series of criminal charges and civil liability in multiple states. As part of our nationwide effort to ensure that those who engage in voter intimidation are held accountable, and that courts and the public properly understand federal voter intimidation law, Protect Democracy filed this amicus brief in one of these cases. 

The non-profit National Coalition on Black Civic Participation filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York alleging that Wohl and Burkman violated federal voter intimidation laws. The New York Attorney General’s office intervened in the lawsuit, and also alleged that Wohl and Burkman violated federal voter intimidation laws as well as multiple state laws.  Protect Democracy filed an amicus brief explaining that Wohl and Burkman violated all three relevant federal voter intimidation laws: Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Section 131(b) of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, and Section 2 of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. On March 8, a federal court in New York agreed—citing Protect Democracy’s brief—and granted partial summary judgment in the plaintiffs’ favor This is a victory for the voters of New York, and voters everywhere, who have the right to vote free from threats and intimidation.

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