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Wed Sep 30, 2020, 05:09 PM

Trump"s "poll watching" is really just intimidation - "ballot security"

The RNC has been touting a 50,000 strong volunteer force to watch polls now that they have relief from this.
Trump is clearly instigating the cult.

The Republican Party Emerges From Decades of Court Supervision
After being bound by a consent decree for 35 years, the Republican National Committee is now free to continue its “ballot security” campaign.


In their 1981 lawsuit to stop the RNC from engaging in certain practices at the polls, the Democratic National Committee attested that in a New Jersey gubernatorial election, the RNC had sent sample ballots to communities of color, and then had the names for each ballot returned as undeliverable removed from voter rolls. Democrats also alleged that the RNC hired off-duty cops to patrol majority-minority precincts, wearing “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands. These details were enough to secure a consent decree between the two party organizations and the court in 1982, stopping the GOP from engaging in such voter-intimidation practices.

With that history of behavior in full view, federal courts moved to allow the decree to expire in December 2017, a decision that was finalized Tuesday by a federal district court. For the first time in three decades, the RNC can pursue ballot-security measures without court preclearance.

The most striking implication of the death of the consent decree, though, may be more legalistic. The expiration date for the current consent decree was set in 2009, and the court by that time had become much more sympathetic to the RNC’s arguments, despite having found it in violation five years before. Even though the RNC had proven unable to find a single instance of voter-registration fraud, the court ruled that the party had a compelling interest in ensuring such fraud did not occur, thus paving the way for full clearance on practices approaching voter caging. The district court did acknowledge, citing the 2008 Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Marion Cty. Election Bd, that voter intimidation and suppression were several magnitudes more likely to occur than voter fraud, but also rested its analysis on its assessment of the future behavior of the Republican Party, as opposed to its decades-long track record.

The Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision essentially nullified federal preclearance for elections laws, replacing the vigilantly proactive spirit of the 1965 Voting Rights Act with an insistence that the sort of overt racism it guarded against was consigned to the past. The decision to allow the consent decree to expire extends that approach. But if the courts are too optimistic, it will only be clear that the consent decree was still needed after an election goes wrong.

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