The GOP is continuing its crusade to erode the voting rights of Americans who tend to support the Democratic Party, under the lie that voter fraud is pervasive in American elections. There is some irony to this argument, given that, as we’ve noted in the past, it’s the Republican Party that seems to have the biggest voter fraud problem.
I therefore wasn’t so surprised to learn that the Republican National Committee has been under a 30-year consent decree stemming from allegations of intimidation of minority voters in violation of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Kay, at Balloon Juice, has some of the background:
Caging originated in 1981, according to the DNC, when the RNC formed an operation called National Ballot Security Task Force. The task force sent out postcards in New Jersey to predominately Hispanic and black districts with a “do not forward” requirement. The 45,000 cards that were returned were then used to create a list of voters for the GOP to challenge at the polls, on the grounds that the voters no longer lived at the addresses on their voter registration cards.
The DNC filed a lawsuit against the RNC over this practice, which resulted in a 1982 consent decree. The RNC agreed not to engage in the same practice “where the purpose or significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting.” In 1986, however, the RNC did the same thing in Louisiana, according to the lawsuit when it attempted to get 31,000 voters removed from the rolls based solely upon the return of a mailed postcard. The 1982 case was then reopened, and the consent decree was amended in 1987 to require that the RNC get prior court approval before engaging in any activities to combat voter fraud.
Fortunately, the RNC’s recent petiton to have the consent decree vacated was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The court’s opinion is available here.
This has never been about voter fraud – it’s the boogeyman the GOP has found is most effective in getting their way. The party is interested in the preservation of the party and the destruction of the opposition. If that means taking steps to intimidate minorities from voting, so be it. If it means returning our “democracy” to one where only a subset of citizens can actually vote, so be it.