Court rejects RNC voter challenge case

Jan. 14, 2013 at 2:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday rejected a Republican request to review restrictions on how the party challenges voter registrations.

The Republican National Committee said for 30 years it "has labored under a nationwide consent decree. The decree ... imposes restrictions and preclearance requirements on the RNC's ability to engage in ballot integrity programs. The central purpose of the decree is to prevent intimidation and suppression of minority voters."

The RNC said it has been in "good faith" compliance with the consent decree and it should be lifted.

Successfully opposing review, the Democratic National Committee said the RNC had signed on to the 1987 decree "to avoid express judicial findings that it had repeatedly violated the Voting Rights Act by suppressing minority voting rights. "

The DNC said, "In 1981, the RNC and New Jersey Republican State Committee ... created a 'National Ballot Security Task Force' -- off-duty law enforcement officers and others in official uniform armed to 'patrol' predominantly black and Hispanic voting precincts in New Jersey on Election Day."

The DNC said evidence "includes proof that the RNC violated the decree in 1990 and in 2004, when it created voter challenge lists that targeted minority voters; that between 1997 and 2008, Republican candidates and party organizations had engaged in separate voter suppression activities in various states, including Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; and that the racially polarized voting that influenced the RNC in the 1980s persists today."

The Supreme Court refused without comment to review an appeals court ruling approving the decree.

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