Press Release

NAACP Critical of Trump Administration’s Possible Connections to Voter Suppression

June 22, 2018

Census Memo the Latest Flag in White House’s Connection to Attempts to Reduce Integrity of the Vote

 BALTIMORE (June 22, 2018)—The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s premier civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s revelation that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross admission that he at the urging of Steve Bannon, initiated the process for adding a citizenship question to Census2020.

“A few days before the fifth anniversary of Shelby v. Holder which shred the Voting Rights Act, It is clear from recent reporting and new information now available that there is a direct connection between the Trump Administration and attempts to suppress the Black vote and other communities of color.

The recent revelations showing that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, President Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission and former strategist Steve Bannon  allegedly colluded to add a citizenship question to Census2020, is the latest in a series of facts that indicate a clear attempt to suppress the vote of communities of color.

According to reporting from NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang, revealed on Twitter ‘Internal Commerce Dept email show Kris Kobach, fmr vice chair of Pres. Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission, contacted Ross abt citizenship Q “at the direction” of fmr White House strategist Steve Bannon “a few months” before July 2017.’

As the White House continues to deny its connection to Russian attempts to influence the 2016 Presidential election through various means including social media initiatives designed to suppress the Black vote, the NAACP can only assume that these connections were intentional and organized.

The fact that Secretary Ross initiated a citizenship question at the urging of Bannon is unnerving due to Bannon’s connection to Cambridge Analytica. In a report in the Hill, (See: Whistleblower: Bannon wanted to suppress black vote) Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie said to Congress that ‘the firm used by President Trump’s campaign in 2016 engaged in “voter disengagement” tactics targeting Black Americans.’

Mr. Wylie is also quoted as saying ‘Mr. Bannon sees cultural warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics. It was for this reason Mr. Bannon engaged SCL [Cambridge Analytica’s parent company], a foreign military contractor, to build an arsenal of informational weapons he could deploy on the American population…That information is then used to “discourage or demobilize certain types of people from voting,” he added, including African-Americans, which Wylie says were particular targets of the operations.’

In May, the NAACP filed suit against the Department of Commerce for failing to properly prepare for Census2020 in a way which would undercount and dilute Black political representation.

The NAACP is calling for a full scale investigation into the various connections to voter suppression connected to the White House.”

Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO.

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

Contact: Malik Russell – mrussell@naacpnet.org

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