Says Republicans likely tempted to 'keep qualified minority voters from casting their ballots'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/2/2009, 1:01pm PT  

On the road and short on time, so forgive the lack of background... Politico tells the story --- though they fail to use the word "caging" because, well, it doesn't make the GOP look so great, and that's what the main interest of Politico seems to be in just about everything they do. They do, however, liberally use the Orwellian phrase "ballot security" instead, as the GOP no doubt appreciates.

These grafs from Politico, summarizing the RNC's rejected argument for moving to throw away the national consent decree they were forced to sign in the 80's, after getting busted caging minority voters from the voter rolls (illegally suppressing their vote) are rather amusing...

The DNC countered that the RNC was exaggerating the danger of voter fraud and said the potential for such fraud is outweighed by the risk of voter intimidation efforts by Republican groups, pointing to a recent decision by the New Jersey court that the RNC had engaged in illegal voter challenges as recently as the 2004 presidential election.

The RNC contended that the consent decree had been interpreted too broadly and made it tougher for Republicans to ensure an even electoral playing field. Plus, it said it had no incentive to intimidate minority voters, pointing to its own election of Michael Steele, who is African-American, as chairman, and asserting that Obama’s election meant existing voting rights laws would be adequate to protect minority voters without the decree.

U.S. District Court Judge Dickinson Debevoise also seems to have found the argument laughable as well, pointing out in his decision that:

the appointment of minority officials within the RNC has not coincided with an end to racially polarized voting. Rather, minority voters continue to overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates. As long as that is the case, the RNC and other Republican groups may be tempted to keep qualified minority voters from casting their ballots, especially in light of the razor-thin margin of victory by which many elections have been decided in recent years.

One victory for the RNC in the judge's ruling, however, is that the consent decree will now be sunsetted in eight years. Furthermore, only the DNC themselves will be allowed to bring a complaint under the decree when the RNC next attempts to cage voters --- and they certainly will.

[DNC Chairman Tim Kaine] called the ruling "a victory for all Americans who believe that every citizen should have the right to vote and have their vote counted. It also represents a resounding repudiation of the Republican Party's trumped up claims of voter fraud."

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