Let Others Do Your Voter Suppression Dirty Work, Supreme Court Tells Republicans

The 2012 election saw a concerted effort by conservative-led and funded outside groups to try and suppress minority voter turnout.  When called out by the left for such anti-democratic tactics, conservatives cried foul, insisting they were the victims of reverse-discrimination. As it turns out, that’s an argument not even the Supreme Court can buy.

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to lift 30-year-old restrictions on the Republican National Committee’s “ballot security” programs that the organization said were necessary to combat fraud. Those restrictions, put in place on the RNC via a consent decree, happened after the Democratic National Committee sued the RNC for enlisting off-duty sheriffs and police officers to patrol polling places in minority precincts in New Jersey during a 1981 gubernatorial election.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s the blueprint of the modern-day voter intimidation campaign.

In 2008, the RNC tried unsuccessfully to get a federal judge to throw out the consent decree, arguing that it had become “antiquated and was being used increasingly as a political weapon.” Does that argument also sound familiar? It should also because it is, essentially, the same argument used to challenge the Voting Rights Act which is currently before the Roberts Court.

Does the fact that the Roberts Court refused to step in and reconsider the consent decree mean there’s hope the Voting Rights Act will survive review? Not likely. The challenge to the VRA is about the use of federal power to monitor state elections — a framing more friendly to the conservative wing of the court. The consent decree between the RNC and the DNC is just that — a contract between the political parties and not the kind of dispute the court would be eager to jump in on.

If anything, the fight should drive home just how much is at stake in the VRA challenge. Efforts to disenfranchise minority voters have been going on since those rights were first recognized. The tactics haven’t changed and, absent the protections of the VRA and the consent decree at issue in this case, the effects would be even worse than what we witnessed in the 2012 election.

Still, a win is a win, and by keeping the consent decree in place, the Supreme Court guaranteed that for now, the RNC can’t directly and immediately intimidate voters. Instead, they’ll just have to continue to rely on state affiliates and outside groups to do that for them.

Related Stories:

Think Voter ID Is Bad? Meet the Poll-Watchers

Tea Party Voting Purges Might Be Criminal

Supreme Court Protects Early Voting in Ohio

Photo from DonkeyHotey via flickr.

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Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mitchell D.
Mitchell D.2 years ago

Amazing that we are still dealing with this crap in this century!

Jane H.
Jane H.2 years ago

I sure do hope the Court decides that the Voting Rights Act is still needed----

Elaine McAuliffe
Elaine McAuliffe2 years ago

The Republicans and the American Christian Taliban remind us constantly of the truth of the statement that the price of freedom is constant vigilance. They try to make us believe that it refers to enemies foreign, yet they prove it refers to enemies domestic as well.

Amanda M.
Amanda M.2 years ago

And people wonder why I always have and will continue to vote Democrat! Not only is the Rethuglican Religious Reich behind the times and stuck in the 50's as far as the issues go, they know they can't win by honest means, so they resort to cheating in an attempt to railroad those who don't vote for them.

Well, cheaters never prosper, you guys. Nice to see that SCOTUS saw right through your underhanded tactics. You want to whine about it, talk to the hand.

Carole L.
Carole L.2 years ago

Stephen D
“And the Black-Panthers patrolling polling stations is not considered voter intimidation??

Since when are the racist thugs known as the Black-Panthers non-intimidating, yet regular law-enforcement at polling stations is?”

First it was two men. And it was in a Democratic district, so now you’re concerned with intimidation of Democratic voters? So you’re afraid of “two” black men. Poor baby, you would have never survived as your poor little heart would have given out if you’d have been present at the million (black) man march. booga, booga, booga!!!

Mark B
“The fact that there are only 2 political parties in the US that are reported on by major media is telling.”

Quite true Mark, we do need to open the field for other political parties to partake during campaign years.

Beverly T.
Beverly T.2 years ago

No Party is perfect by the simple fact that each party is still comprised of humans.
The history of our nation is full of wrongs from BOTH parties.
However, in the current times of instant media the actions taken (or not) are becoming more blatantly revealed and THE PEOPLE are becoming more ALERT, even in spite of media bias on both sides.
There is HOPE.
None of this can be undone overnight, the best thing to do is simply keep shining a BIG bright light on EVERYONE'S moves and for the PEOPLE to SPEAK UP and act wherever possible.
It is my greatest dream that as those folks in the “forever” Red districts become more AWARE of what is happening to THEIR lives and FUTURES that they will SEE the TRUTH and learn to VOTE more wisely.
It will take EVERYONE'S best effort to get this done.
Let's get BUSY !!!!!

Patricia H.
Patricia H.2 years ago

interesting remarks, thanks for sharing

Lynn D.
Lynn D.2 years ago


Mark B.
Mark Bales2 years ago

I don't believe in following Fox or BBC like a lemming.



Looks like the guy with nightstick in top video is the same one hating on 'crackers' in the bottom video. See for yourself.

Voter suppression by BOTH major political parties in USA. The fact that there are only 2 political parties in the US that are reported on by major media is telling.