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Voter advocacy groups file lawsuits against President Trump's executive order

Five non-profits filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's social media executive order from May, arguing that it hurts the rights of voters who receive information through social media about mail-in voting.

This came after a separate lawsuit was filed by the Washington-based Center for Democracy & Technology, which was backed by large tech companies, who had argued that Trump's action violates the First Amendment right.

Trump had issued an executive order in May against social media companies, attempting to regulate platforms where he has been and is being criticized. Coincidently this order came just days after Twitter took the rare step of fact-checking one of his tweets about mail-in voting. Trump threatened to scrap or weaken Section 230, which provides protection to internet companies from litigation over content posted by users, which is very important especially during this time.

The Trump administration had also filed a motion asking a court to dismiss the CDT lawsuit, calling it a "profound misunderstanding." The administration argued that the order only directs government agencies, and not private companies, to act.

Trump’s executive order hurts online platforms’ ability to moderate and speak and impedes the plaintiffs’ efforts to advocate for accurate information online about voting, the lawsuit said.

The current legal challenge was filed by voter advocacy groups Voto Latino and Common Cause, along with watchdog groups MapLight and Free Press saying that they rely on social media to raise voter awareness and increase voter turnout.

Trump's executive order hurts online platforms' ability to moderate and speak and impedes the plaintiffs' efforts to advocate for accurate information online about voting, the lawsuit said.

Trump has been attacking mail ballots amid growing evidence that it is likely to help Democrats heading into the crucial Nov. 3 contest. He has repeatedly and without evidence said that an increase in mail-in ballots would lead to a surge in fraud, although Americans have long voted by mail, and so has Trump himself. This just may be a last-ditch attempt by the president to remain in office for a longer period of time as the public opinion is starting to sway against his favor.

“The lawsuit makes the point that these are organizations that have been directly impacted by the false information President Trump is disseminating and by his efforts to stop platforms like Twitter, Facebook that people they (the groups) are trying to register to vote use to get their information,” said Kristy Parker, counsel with Protect Democracy, a non-profit that has challenged Trump’s order on behalf of the various advocacy groups opposing the order made by him.


Reporter: Adithi S.

Bangalore, India | epicenter.newsmedia@gmail.com

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