CAIR-NY Asks Attorney General to Probe Muslim Voter Suppression

CAIR-NY
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[Council on American-Islamic Relations\Voter Suppression]
Afaf Nasher: "We ask Attorney General Letitia James to scrutinize the reasons behind the apparent targeting of Muslim absentee ballots in Lackawanna. Our upcoming federal elections require the utmost confidence in our election systems."
Photo: Twitter

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a chapter of the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today requested an investigation by the office of the New York State Attorney General into potential voter suppression targeting Muslim absentee ballots in the June 2020 primary elections of Lackawanna, Erie County.

The investigation was sought after it was discovered that of the more than 200 absentee ballots with filed objections, all but one had an overtly Muslim/Middle Eastern sounding name.

The voters were not informed of the objection to their ballot, but a list of the names was exposed through a Freedom of Information request filed with the Erie County Board of Elections by attorney Peter A. Reese. Within one hour of filing the request, the objections were withdrawn.

In a statement, CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said:

"To disqualify the votes of hundreds of eligible citizens is the worst danger to our democracy that can be imagined. Regardless of religion or race, every eligible vote is crucial to preserving the legitimacy of our government. Disenfranchising certain populations is an abhorrent practice victimizing marginalized communities to censor their voice and stunt their political power — but we will not be silenced.

"We ask Attorney General Letitia James to scrutinize the reasons behind the apparent targeting of Muslim absentee ballots in Lackawanna. Our upcoming federal elections require the utmost confidence in our election systems and that requires transparency from our Board of Elections, and equity for every voter."

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