The violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was a brazen, virulent, and deadly manifestation of the concerted effort to undermine our democracy, to overthrow the government, and to negate the votes cast by our communities. January 6 was not an isolated incident, but rather part of an ongoing, relentless campaign to weaken our democracy. 

January 6th Committee Hearings

In a series of public hearings, the bipartisan January 6th Committee revealed previously unseen details of the machinations leading up to the attack. The information unveiled through the investigations by Congress’ January 6th Committee and the U.S. Department of Justice confirms that the violence was foreseeable, and part of a larger planned coup attempt abetted by encouragement or deliberate inaction at the highest levels. 

The hearings included testimony from state election officials, election workers, and government staff close to former President Donald Trump in the days leading up to the insurrection. 

In May 2022, LDF submitted written testimony to the United States House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol detailing the relentless campaign to weaken our democracy and the steps Congress must take to protect it.

January 6th Committee Investigation and Criminal Referrals

On December 19, 2022, the House Select Committee on January 6th referred four criminal charges to the United States Department of Justice against former president Donald J. Trump and referred several Congressional members to the bipartisan ethics Committee for review. Read LDF’s statement on the January 6th Committee’s Comprehensive and Precedent-Setting Investigation and Criminal Referrals to Department of Justice here.  

To help disrupt this harmful cycle of retrogression, it is not only necessary for the DOJ to pursue justice in connection with January 6th, but Congress must pass national legislation to fully protect the American people from voter suppression, intimidation, discrimination, and election sabotage. 


Why are the January 6th Committee hearings important?

No other act of mass violence in modern history has threatened the existence of our democracy more than the insurrection that occurred at the United States Capitol. The goal of the insurrectionists was clear: to effectuate a violent coup, deny the will of the majority of voters, and upend the functioning of our increasingly multi-racial, multi-ethnic democracy.  

The violence on January 6th and the attendant effort to override the valid outcome of the 2020 Presidential election were one concrete form of backlash, and the rash of voter suppression laws introduced and enacted in states across the country, building on a wave of voter similar efforts that preceded the election, was another. Both responses were fueled by a common false narrative rooted in racism and the project of white supremacy.  

How are the hearings connected to racial justice?

The January 6th attack was a manifestation of broad white supremacist backlash against robust democratic participation by people of color. This backlash has been fueled in part by the false narrative that rampant voter fraud occurred in Black and Brown communities, and also by a deep-seated fear that the changing racial and ethnic demographics in the United States and the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the electorate threaten the existing power structure premised on white supremacy. Moreover, the insurrection was preceded and followed by a rash of racially discriminatory voter suppression laws aimed at Black and Brown Americans and which continue to threaten the integrity of our electoral process.  

What have we learned?

Former President Donald Trump, after losing the 2020 general election, refused to accept the will of the voters and waged both a disinformation campaign and legal attempts at overturning those results.

President Trump laid the groundwork for these false claims of mass election fraud well in advance of the election. He also begin signaling to white supremacists groups that they needed to "Stand back and stand by,” which served as a rallying cry to these violent extremists.

Officials at local, state, federal levels of government found no evidence of fraud—yet the former President continued to repeat those false claims, including encouraging then-Vice President Pence to reject the state-certified results of the Electoral College.

President Trump was told repeatedly that Vice President Pence lacked the Constitutional and legal authority to do what the President demanded he do.

President Trump was told by his own advisors that he had no basis for his stolen election claims, yet he continued to pressure state officials to change the election results, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Arizona State Representative Rusty Bowers. 

President Trump’s tweet inviting followers to join him at a protest on January 6th reverberated online across social media. His supporters, including far-right media personalities, saw it as a call to action. There were serious concerns among members of Congress at Twitter about anticipated violence that day.


What should Congress do next?

The Constitution gives Congress the authority and the responsibility to act to protect our democracy. The Committee has been charged with the responsibility of diagnosing the root causes of the January 6th and prescribing solutions that can heal our democracy. It is critical that Congress view January 6th not as an isolated incident. Only then does the full range of necessary solutions come into view. This includes legislation to protect the right to vote, especially for people of color; and to protect democracy from subversion.

The Lead-Up to January 6th

Long before the attack on the Capitol, powerful interests were fomenting a backlash to the 2020 elections and the robust democratic participation by people of color. Those interests are determined to block the emergence of an inclusive, multiracial democracy by erecting barriers to the ballot and by dismantling the non-partisan election infrastructure.  

It is no coincidence that legislative efforts to restrict access to voting and target Black voters were happening alongside the pervasive spread of the “Big Lie,” attempts to overturn election results, and threats to election workers.  

Attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by disenfranchising Black voters in Michigan, specifically efforts to pressure state and local officials not to count or certify votes. Sweeping voter suppression laws passed in states like Texas, Georgia, and Florida, just to name a few. Unfair redistricting maps that deny Black voters an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. False accusations against election workers, particularly Black poll workers, like Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman led to death threats, harassment, and forced them to quit their jobs as election workers. USPS policies implemented shortly before the 2020 election led to widespread delays in mail delivery that threatened timely delivery of mail-in ballots. These efforts to undermine our democracy culminated in the violent attack on the Capitol. 

Justice Above All Podcast

Aftershocks: Election Sabotage and January 6th

On this episode, Justice Above All unpacks how election sabotage invaded the 2020 electoral process and culminated in the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6th. Joined by LDF Attorney Christina Das and New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, we look at how election sabotage risks the lives of election workers and poses a grave threat to democracy.


Rep. Bennie Thompson

Day 1 Opening Statement

June 10, 2022 Hearing

“I’m from a part of the country where people justified the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and lynching. I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try to justify the actions of the insurrectionists on January 6, 2021.”

Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman

Former Georgia Election Workers Testimony

June 21, 2022 Hearing

“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security. All because a group of people, starting with number 45 and his ally, Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye to push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson

Final Hearing Opening Statement

December 19, 2022 Hearing

“We have every confidence that the work of this Committee will help provide a roadmap to justice, and that the agencies and institutions responsible for ensuring justice under the law will use the information we’ve provided to aid in their work.”


Voting Rights and Election Protection

filed: 2024


On January 19, 2024, LDF, along with co-counsel Burt M. Rublin of Ballard Spahr LLP, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Trump v. Anderson urges the Court to fulfill its duty to fully enforce the Fourteenth Amendment regardless of the outcome or political consequences. Trump v. Anderson concerns whether the actions of former president Donald Trump in connection with the January 6, 2021 insurrection render him ineligible to be a candidate in the 2024 presidential election pursuant to Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Colorado Supreme Court determined that Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment disqualifies former President Trump from appearing on that state’s ballot because he engaged in an insurrection in connection with the events of January 6, 2021. The case is now being considered by the Supreme Court of the United States. 

filed: 2020

Challenging Efforts to Disenfranchise Black Voters and Overturn Election

LDF filed a lawsuit against President Trump and his campaign challenging their coordinated efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election by disenfranchising Black voters in Detroit, Michigan. The lawsuit argues that President Trump and his campaign violated the Voting Rights Act and Section 1985(3) of the KKK Act by intimidating, threatening, and coercing state and local elections officials to pressure them not to certify or count votes cast in Detroit. The defendants also encouraged their supporters to stop vote counting, raised baseless challenges to the validity of legally cast ballots, and engaged media campaigns designed to intimidate and misinform voters and election officials. LDF later filed an amended complaint challenging similar conduct in other states and adding the Republican National Committee as a defendant.

Filed: 2020
Ensuring Timely Delivery of Mail Ballots

Filed in August 2020 with Public Citizen, NAACP v. USPS challenged United States Postal Service delivery delays and inadequate measures to ensure timely delivery of mail-in ballots for the November 2020 election. On December 17, 2021, LDF and Public Citizen announced a settlement in the historic case. The settlement ensures that it will undertake similar efforts to prioritize the delivery of ballots in future national elections. The lawsuit suit resulted in USPS implementing court-ordered “extraordinary measures” for the timely delivery of ballots. The settlement ensures that it will undertake similar efforts to prioritize the delivery of ballots in future national elections.

filed: 2021

Challenging Voter Suppression in Georgia

Filed in 2021, AME v. Kemp is a challenge to Georgia’s sweeping anti-voter law, S.B. 202. LDF secured important victories for Georgia voters in 2023 that will lift restrictions put in place by S.B. 202 for the 2024 elections. The court ruled that Georgia’s ban on line relief likely violated their First Amendment right to free expression. The court ruled that rejecting a voter’s absentee ballot because they failed to provide a birthdate or provided the wrong date on their ballot envelope violates a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbidding denying someone the right to vote based on an immaterial error or omission.   

filed: 2022
Challenging Voter Suppression in Texas

Houston Area Urban League v. Abbott is a lawsuit challenging S.B. 1, a Texas law that greatly restricts access to voting and disproportionately impacts voters of color and voters with disabilities. The lawsuit argues that S.B. 1 violates the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by targeting and burdening methods and means of voting used by voters of color and voters for disabilities. S.B. 1 includes several suppressive voting provisions that will make it much harder for Texans to vote and disenfranchise some altogether, particularly Black and Latino voters and voters with disabilities. The case went to trial in September 2023. LDF represents Houston Area Urban League, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Arc of Texas, and Jeffrey Lamar Clemmons. Our case was consolidated with four other lawsuits under LUPE v. Abbott.

filed: 2021

Challenging Florida’s restrictive voting bill, S.B. 90 

In May 2021, LDF filed a federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s law that greatly restricts voting access. The lawsuit argues that S.B. 90 creates unnecessary barriers and burdens that disproportionately impact Black and Latinx voters, and voters with disabilities, violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2022, a federal court struck down provisions challenged by the lawsuit including limitations on where, when, and how drop boxes can be used, and a vague and overbroad prohibition on conduct near polling places, including likely criminalizing offering free food, water, and other relief to Florida voters waiting in long lines. 

LDF Report

Democracy Defended

Findings From the 2020 Election

Democracy Defended captures and analyzes LDF’s election protection work during the 2020 election season, and details efforts to suppress the vote of Black, Latinx, and other minority-community voters. The report includes state-specific litigation; information on voter issues reported; state and county specific advocacy. Democracy Defended offers solutions for policymakers, election administrators, and community members to implement to ensure fair access to the vote in future elections.