The United States Department of Justice has submitted a legal brief (known as a “Statement of Interest”) supporting key legal arguments in our federal lawsuit against the “United States Election Integrity Plan” (USEIP), an extremist organization that has carried out an illegal voter intimidation campaign in Colorado.


The lawsuit, brought by Free Speech For People and pro bono counsel Lathrop GPM on behalf of plaintiffs Colorado Montana Wyoming State Area Conference of the NAACP (NAACP Colorado), League of Women Voters of Colorado (LWV Colorado), and Mi Familia Vota (MFV), argues that USEIP’s voter harassment tactics constitute illegal intimidation under Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act (an important and broad provision that prohibits voter intimidation and attempted voter intimidation) and the Ku Klux Klan Act. In response, USEIP has argued that non-governmental plaintiffs (like NAACP Colorado, LWV Colorado, and MFV) cannot file lawsuits under Section 11(b), and even if they can, they must  prove that defendants specifically intended to intimidate voters. This is an incorrect reading of the Voting Rights Act that would make it difficult to protect voters from unlawful intimidation.

DOJ’s Statement of Interest

The Department of Justice’s Statement supports our position. As DOJ explains, it has a “substantial interest in ensuring the proper interpretation of Section 11(b),” so it submitted the Statement to correct these two erroneous USEIP arguments.

First, DOJ explained that Section 11(b) does not require voters to prove that defendants specifically intended to intimidate voters. In fact, Congress deliberately omitted an intent requirement from the Section. Plaintiffs are not required to know what defendants were thinking when they intimidated voters; it is enough, under the law, to show that defendants in fact acted in a manner that intimidated or attempted to intimidate voters.

Second, DOJ explained that non-governmental plaintiffs (such as the voting rights groups that filed this lawsuit), and not just the government, can bring a lawsuit under Section 11(b) to block voter intimidation. DOJ noted that this “right is inherent in the text, structure, and history of the Voting Rights Act” and that “the Supreme Court has long recognized that Congress intended the Act to empower private citizens to secure their own rights.”

Free Speech For People welcomes the filing of the United States’ Statement of Interest. Congress passed Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act to ensure that voters are able to participate in the electoral process without fear of intimidation, threats, or coercion. NAACP Colorado, LWV Colorado, and MFV should be allowed to continue their lawsuit to protect their members, the voters in their communities, and all Colorado voters.

Read the Statement of Interest here.

Read more about the lawsuit here.