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Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:17 PM

DNC v. RNC-1982 Injunction against RNC extended

I am a member of the Obama voter protection team and just received an e-mail from the head of the team that makes me smile. The DNC has maintained an injunction against the RNC since 1982 on voter suppression and vote caging efforts. The Third Circuit just confirmed the opinion of the judge in that case to extend this injunction for eight more years http://electionlawblog.org/wp-content/uploads/rncvdnc.pdf Here is the statement of the DNC on this victory

DNC Statement on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in DNC v. RNC

Washington DC – The DNC released the following statement on the decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the District Court’s decision to affirm the extension of the consent decree against the Republican National Committee. As the court described it, the decree has as its central purpose “preventing the intimidation and suppression of minority voters” by the Republican Party.

Please see a statement below on this decision from DNC Counsel and Voter Protection Director Will Crossley:

“We applaud the decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the extension of the consent decree that has been in place since 1982. As this and previous rulings have noted, Republicans have a history of working to restrict access to the polls, including the illegal targeting of suppression schemes at minority populations.

“The primary purpose of the consent decree, as stated by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, is ‘to prevent the RNC from ‘using, appearing to use, racial or ethnic criteria in connection with ballot integrity, ballot security or other effort to prevent or remedy suspected vote’ and to neither ‘hinder discourage qualified voters from exercising the right to vote.’

“Every Republican argument against a continuation of enforcement was rejected by the Third Circuit. The court found that the consent decree is not a violation of free speech but rather an important tool for protecting minority voters and preventing Republican voter suppression efforts. The Republican argument that because the President, Attorney General and former RNC Chairman are African-American, minority voters would be adequately protected from suppression efforts was previously called “unsubstantiated and offensive” by a lower court, and the Third Circuit wrote that its ‘jurisprudence cannot depend on such assumptions.’

“Finally, the Court rejected the RNC’s claim that their so-called ballot security measures are essential to preventing voter fraud. Once again Republican allegations of “fraud” have been revealed for what they are: simple cover for attacks on the right to vote.

“The Democratic Party will always stand on the side of those defending access to the ballot for all eligible Americans. The right to vote is the sacred right of all Americans and we must not forget how hard many Americans fought – African-Americans and women in particular – to secure that right. The Third Circuit’s decision in DNC v. RNC reaffirms the legal protections that those targeted by Republican voter suppression tactics may continue to depend upon.”

This e-mail really made me smile

3 replies, 1428 views

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Reply DNC v. RNC-1982 Injunction against RNC extended (Original post)
Gothmog Mar 2012 OP
toddwv Mar 2012 #1
LiberalFighter Mar 2012 #2
Gothmog Mar 2012 #3

Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:58 PM

1. Thank you.

Very interesting information particularly in light of the Republicans attempts to curtail voting.

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 04:10 PM

2. We need to use this in campaigns to perpetuate the fact that RNC is corrupt.

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 06:34 PM

3. Good write-up on this opinion

The Texas Redistricting website has a good writeup on this appeal and opinion http://txredistricting.org/post/19065990675/rnc-loses-appeal-on-poll-watching-activities

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal by the Republican National Committee asking that the court vacate a 1982 consent degree that limited the ability of the RNC to engage in pollwatching activities without advance court approval. The agree limits include a prohibition on using ethnicity to determine where the party’s pollwatching activities will be targeted.

The consent decree, which is nationwide in scope, arises out of actions allegedly taken by the RNC during the 1981 New Jersey governor’s race, including sending out sample ballots to minority voters and using returned mail to put voters on a watch list as well as stationing off-duty police officers, some armed, in heavily minority precincts with armbands saying ‘National Ballot Security Task Force.’

A 1987 modification to the decree after renewed problems in Louisiana required the RNC to submit any pollwatching program to the court 20 days in advance for review and pre-aaproval.

In November 2008, the RNC filed a motion asking the court to vacate the consent decree, arguing that it was unnecessary in light of higher minority registration and turnout rates and that subsequent laws like the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and Help America Vote Act (HAVA) had increased the likelihood of voter fraud by making it easier both to register to vote and to vote. The RNC also argued that the requirement that it obtain court approval for pollwatching activities violated the RNC’s right to free speech under the First Amendment.

The district court rejected the RNC’s motion, although it made a number of modifications to the decree, including streamlining the pre-approval process and directing that the consent decree terminate on December 1, 2017 absent further court order.

The RNC appealed to the Third Circuit.

This week, the Third Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court in a 3-0 opinion, finding that the court had not abused its discretion in denying the motion and that the decree did not prevent the RNC from engaging in legitimate pollwatching activities. The appeals court also rejected First Amendment arguments, noting that the RNC had never submitted a pollwatching program for review in the 20 years that the pre-approval requirement had been in place.


One of the reasons that the GOP is pushing for voter id laws is that many of the GOP's voter suppression efforts were blocked by this injunction

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