Ahead of the November 3, 2020 elelection, on October 21, 2020, the ACLU of Connecticut sent letters to all Connecticut registrars of voters and all municipal police chiefs and the Connecticut state police commissioner regarding voter intimidation at the polls.
In those letters, we reminded those election officials and police that voter intimidation would disproportionately threaten the rights and safety of Black and Brown people, who have been historically and grossly suppressed from voting, and outlined state and federal laws regarding voter intimidation.
In our letter to all Connecticut registrars of voters, we urged them to protect voters' rights by:
- Acknowledging that people of color are disproportionately likely to be subjected to voter suppression and intimidation and affirming that protecting the right to vote by people of color is important
- Identifying responses to voter intimidation and polling place disruptions that do not require a police response and committing to attempting these solutions first
- Evaluating whether the presence of police at a particular polling place makes it more difficult for people to vote, and using police only as a last resort
- Explicitly prioritizing the right to vote above other considerations
- Ensuring that polling places have adequate personal protective equipment on hand and insisting that voters and poll workers follow the standards set forth in Executive Order No. 7NNN or the standards governing mask use and physical distancing on November 3, 2020. If a voter will not or cannot comply with governing mask use and physical distancing requirements, we urge the registrars of voters to permit that person to vote by making other accommodations. Polling places should ensure that voters are safe from COVID-19 while still preserving the right to vote as broadly as possible.
In our letter to all municipal police chiefs and the state police, we urged them to:
- Acknowledge that people of color are disproportionately likely to be subjected to voter suppression and intimidation and affirming that protecting the right to vote by people of color is important
- Direct police employees to prioritize protection of the right to vote over competing concerns
- Allow voters who have responded to intimidation and harassment tactics to exercise their right to vote
- Evaluate whether the presence of police at a particular polling place makes it more difficult for people to vote