Democrats use anti-Ku Klux Klan law to sue Donald Trump and Roger Stone for voter intimidation
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Fountain Park in Fountain Hills, Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Democrats in four states over the weekend filed lawsuits against GOP nominee Donald Trump and his ally Roger Stone for what the party said was "voter intimidation."


Rick Hasen of Election Law Blog reported on Monday that Democrats in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Ohio had filed suits seeking to prevent voter intimidation by Stone's "Stop the Steal" group.

Citing the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act, Democrats allege that state Republican parties and Trump are colluding with Stone to intimidate minority voters.

"The campaign of Donald J. Trump, Trump's close advisor Roger J. Stone, Jr., Stone's organization Stop the Steal Inc., the Republican Party of Pennsylvania ('RPP'), and others are conspiring to threaten, intimidate, and thereby prevent minority voters in urban neighborhoods from voting in the 2016 election," a complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party states. "The presently stated goal of the Trump Campaign, as explained by an unnamed official to Bloomberg News on October 27, is to depress voter turnout—in the official's words: 'We have three major voter suppression operations under way' that target African Americans and other groups of voters."

Democrats claim that Trump, Stone and the state Republican parties are in violation of the 1870s-era Ku Klux Klan Act, which outlaws private conspiracies from threatening voters.

Earlier this month, the Democratic National Committee also asked a judge to prevent the Republican Party from violating a consent decree that dates back to 1982. It forbids the RNC from engaging in voter intimidation.

"It is not clear that a court would issue a vague order to stop 'voter intimidation,' as requested in the relief in these suits (as that term would be vague and difficult to enforce)," Hasen writes of the state party lawsuits. "But the suits will first bring publicity to the activities, and second get these parties on record stating that they do not plan on engaging in voter intimidation, which itself could be useful in the event of problems on election day."