By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Voter suppression and intimidation tactics have left little doubt about the urgency Democrats have to not only win the White House but to maintain control of Congress and retake the Senate.

In what has routinely been coy attempts to suppress voter turnout and to discourage African Americans and other minorities from voting, Republicans are now overt in their schemes to unfairly gain advantages and alter the outcome of America’s elections.

And, after the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court following a record number of federal judiciary appointments by President Donald Trump, most say the vote has never been more crucial.

“Democrats and Republicans are engaged in a furious struggle over voting rights. In almost every instance, Democrats are trying to make it easier for Americans to cast ballots, and Republicans are trying to make it harder,” The New York Times reported on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

Much of the fight involves voting by mail, which many people would prefer to do this year, to minimize their risk of contracting the coronavirus at a polling place, The Times editorial team wrote in a newsletter.

Lawyers have already filed more than 300 lawsuits across 44 states over pandemic-related voting issues. The most critical cases are in the battleground states on which the presidential election or Senate control could hinge.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans have appealed to the Supreme Court to reverse an order allowing the counting of mail ballots that arrive three days after Election Day.

In North Carolina, the Trump campaign, with the assistance of the Republican party, is still seeking the state’s highest court’s intervention in a rule that extends the deadline for receiving mail in ballots to November 12.

In Wisconsin, five Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court ruled in favor of GOP officials to mandate that ballots arrive by 8 p.m. on Election Day; otherwise, they won’t be counted.

Lawsuits also persist in Nevada, Texas, and in Michigan, where a conservative judge on Tuesday, October 27, overturned an order by the Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and ruled that people could carry unconcealed guns at polling places on Election Day.

According to the New York Times, Democrats continue to argue that protecting people’s right to vote should be the top priority during a national crisis.

“Americans need the reassurance that the integrity of the democratic process will be protected and free of voter suppression and intimidation,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson wrote in an email to Black Press USA.

“That is why the NAACP will continue to be relentless in our efforts to empower Black communities across the country in the final days of this election year to ensure that our voices are heard, and our vote moves America forward.”

Since August, the NAACP has led its Black Voices Change Lives campaign to mobilize Black American voters across the country, especially in key battleground states, Johnson added.

“The NAACP has also invested seven-figures in ad campaigns to reach the Black community and encourage people to register, get educated, and plan to vote this November,” Johnson continued.

Kris Parker, an attorney and political consultant who worked as a Field Organizer for Barack Obama in 2008 and a Regional Director in 2012, remarked that the GOP has actively orchestrated a well-calculated comprehensive voter-suppression agenda that involves Republican leaders at the federal, state, and local level.

“The absolute and unequivocal intent of their actions is to suppress voter turnout. When you consider the President’s repeated undermining of mail-in-voting with his administration’s dismantling of the Post Office, along with the actions by state leaders to limit ballot drop-off locations; it becomes painfully clear that the Republican party is shamelessly and openly attempting to make it more difficult for people to vote during a world-wide pandemic,” Parker exclaimed.

“These coordinated efforts will almost certainly affect the turnout and could very well affect the outcomes in elections with razor-thin margins.”