Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s premature declaration of victory:
“President Trump’s decision to declare victory and spread misinformation as votes continue to be counted in this election is an outrageous act of voter suppression. LDF unreservedly rejects this attempt to disenfranchise the tens of millions of Americans who have exercised their right to vote and are entitled to have their votes counted. A president is elected once they receive 270 electoral votes, not when they make false declarations of victory.
“In every election, it takes time for all votes to be counted. The unprecedented number of votes cast in this year’s general election in the midst of a pandemic makes it even more necessary to affirm this crucial practice of any fair and just democracy. Voter turnout was high in states across the country both during the early voting period and on Election Day. Every voter’s voice is legitimate and deserves to be heard — whether they cast their vote yesterday, or mailed in their ballots beforehand, like millions do in every election. Every vote must be counted.
“This has been a tumultuous year and election process affected by many variables: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; the politicized fast-tracking of a Supreme Court justice in the midst of people deciding who will be the next American president; and evidence of voter suppression and voter intimidation in multiple states. Any candidate now declaring an unsubstantiated victory, while millions of votes are still being counted, is engaging in additional voter suppression and dangerous spreading of misinformation at this critical time in our nation’s history.
“Now, more than ever, the country needs both patience and reassurance as the results of this election are decided. We call on all candidates, and all of our nation’s elected officials, to stand up for the right of every American to have their vote counted. LDF will remain vigilant today and in the days to come to ensure that this is the case.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.