Every presidential election year we hear the same story. Throughout the United States, Americans complain of being turned away from the polls due to incorrect identification, their names not being placed on the voter registration list, ballot machines not working, or their ballots not being counted due to technicalities. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied the Republican National Committee’s request to lift a thirty year old consent decree that bars the committee from targeting minorities in an effort to end voter fraud. Back in 1970s and 1980s, the Republican National Committee (RNC) created a “national ballot security task force” that sent targeted mailings to African American and Hispanic neighborhoods in New Jersey. If the mailings were returned as undelivered, party activists would place those individuals on a list so their ballot would be challenged if they showed up to the polls.
In addition it was also alleged that the RNC hired off-duty police officers to patrol minority neighborhoods on the day of election. Soon after, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sued the Republican National Committee (RNC) in federal court alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act and the RNC’s intention to suppress minority voters. Instead of fighting the charges through extensive litigation, the RNC agreed to the consent decree which promised that they would not engage in ballot security efforts which was later defined as “ballot integrity, ballot security or other efforts to prevent or remedy voter fraud” especially in minority communities.