As Americans, we believe that every citizen is entitled to an equal opportunity to vote.
So it is disturbing that an organized, well-funded national effort called True the Vote plans to send a million volunteers into African-American and Hispanic communities to challenge citizens as they attempt to cast a ballot ( At polls, fears of voter suppression, intimidation, Oct. 11).
As Florida’s top election official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner needs to make sure that these Election Day bullies don’t interfere with millions of Floridians’ lawful rights to participate in American democracy.
Twenty-three civil-rights organizations, including mine, recently wrote Detzner urging him to enforce federal and state laws that prohibit harassment or intimidation of voters.
We asked Detzner to inform all election personnel and party-designated challengers of the requirements of state and federal law — including the fact that a voter’s presence on the state’s alleged noncitizen purge list cannot form the basis for a voter challenge; to set up procedures to minimize voting disruptions due to challenges; and to establish channels of communication with law-enforcement authorities before Election Day.
State election officials are responsible for running a free and fair election. Will they rise to the occasion?
Gus West, board chair and president, The Hispanic Institute, Washington, D.C.