Decades-Old Consent Decree Lifted Against RNC’s ‘Ballot Security’ Measures
A decades old consent decree has been lifted against the Republican National Committee’s so-called “ballot security” measures. It’s a big victory in the RNC’s efforts to monitor polling activity and it’s a sobering moment for activists who fear this could accelerate voter suppression — especially among minorities.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Eleven months before Election Day, a federal judge has given the Republican National Committee a big win. He has allowed a consent decree to expire that was in place since 1982. That agreement prevented the RNC from carrying out what the party saw as ballot security measures and what critics deemed voter suppression. Rick Hasen of the University of California, Irvine, joins us now. He writes the Election Law Blog. Welcome.
RICK HASEN: Good to be with you.
SHAPIRO: What happened in the early 1980s that led to this consent decree?
HASEN: Well, the Democrats accused the Republican National Committee of engaging in a number of activities which they said was voter suppression in violation of the Voting Rights Act and other civil rights laws. One thing the RNC was accused of was sending armed police officers off duty to polling places to patrol the polling places in minority areas.
Rather than going to trial, the RNC agreed to settle the case, and it settled the case in what’s called a consent decree, which means that the settlement between the parties was embodied in a court order. And if the RNC ever violated that order, they could be found in contempt. And so this was a very powerful tool that the Democrats have been able to use for the last few decades.
h/t Nawt Meh Prezdunt