At the end of 2017, the Republican National Committee is slated to be freed from decades-old federal court oversight that limits the party’s activities when it comes to “ballot security.” In other words, after nine presidential elections, the national Republican Party is set to have more freedom to engage in poll monitoring activities without an automatic court bar on any voter fraud-related efforts at polling places. But Democrats are now arguing in federal court that Donald Trump’s “rigged election” claims and his efforts to send “watchers” to polling places mean the Republican National Committee can’t be trusted with that power. The Republican Party’s lawyers responded on Monday by attempting to distance the party from Trump’s campaign. On Friday, a federal judge in New Jersey will hold a hearing on the request by the Democratic National Committee to hold the RNC in contempt and extend the order that restrict’s the party’s activities — for the next two presidential elections.
In the meantime, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Vazquez also has ordered the RNC to turn over potentially significant information about its Election Day plans regarding any “ballot security” efforts and any coordination to that end with the Trump campaign.
In the RNC’s filing earlier Monday, the committee’s general counsel submitted a 16-page declaration that, for several pages, explained how the Trump campaign’s activities should not be attributed to the RNC.
“On behalf of the RNC, I have made clear to the Trump campaign that the RNC cannot and will not be involved in any way with ballot security activities or Election Day operations,” RNC chief counsel John R. Phillippe Jr. wrote.