(HUFFPOST) – The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Black Michigan voters against President Donald Trump and his campaign Friday, accusing both of violating the Voting Rights Act.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, argued that Trump is pressuring election officials not to certify votes in Michigan based on false allegations of election fraud in an attempt to suppress votes, particularly those of Black voters.
The fraud allegations have been “consistently debunked and the campaign’s litigation attempts turned away by courts in several states,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., said in a statement.
“The president’s use of dog whistles to suggest the illegitimacy of votes cast by Black voters in Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Atlanta are an appeal to a dangerous and corrosive racialized narrative of voter fraud,” she added.
The lawsuit argued that the president’s “tactics repeat the worst abuses in our nation’s history, as Black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the Republic.”
Defendants are “openly seeking to disenfranchise Black voters, including voters in Detroit, Michigan,” the suit alleged. “Repeating false claims of voter fraud, which have been thoroughly debunked, Defendants are pressuring state and local officials in Michigan not to count votes from Wayne County, Michigan, … and thereby disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters.”
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 “protects against efforts to intimidate or coerce officials to disenfranchise Black voters,” Ifill said.
The lawsuit called for Trump or his campaign to halt any efforts to disenfranchise voters.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund sued on behalf of three Black residents of Detroit and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.
Neither the White House nor the Trump campaign immediately responded to requests from HuffPost for comment on the lawsuit.
Neither the White House nor the campaign have yet filed a response to the suit.
Joe Biden won Michigan by some 140,000 votes and polled particularly well in Detroit, which Trump and his campaign made a key target for their challenges.
The president and his campaign have struggled to come up with any evidence of their claims of ballot fraud anywhere. They dropped a suit challenging results in Michigan on Thursday.
Trump invited the state’s legislative leaders, both Republicans, to the White House for a meeting Friday. Observers suspected that the president’s meeting was a long-shot bid to persuade them to wield their power to sway electoral votes for him against the wishes of Michigan voters.
The legislators left the meeting unconvinced that they should take any action to try to change the election’s result.
“We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan, and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors,” state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield said in a joint statement.