RNC Consent Decree Ends After 35 Years

After 35 years, the consent decree that prohibited the Republican National Committee (RNC) from engaging in ballot security activities wasterminated by a federal judge.  RNLA Chair John Ryder, former General Counsel to the RNC, stated:

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey ended the consent decree that had banned the Republican National Committee from engaging in activities to ensure that elections are open, fair, and honest since 1982.  Despite years and much money spent searching for evidence of Republican voter suppression, the Democratic National Committee could not present evidence to the court sufficient for the consent decree to remain in effect.  We applaud the fact that the RNC may now, on the same, lawful, non-discriminatory basis as other political organizations, ensure that every eligible voter is able to vote and that the votes of ineligible voters are not counted.

In November, the judge noted that the DNC had not presented any evidence of voter suppression, let alone any by the RNC:

“As far as what’s before this court, you’ve presented me with no evidence of actual voter suppression efforts on the day of the election, much less tying it to the RNC,” [Judge John Michael] Vazquez told DNC attorneys.

The judge had kept the consent decree in force after a December 1 sunset date to give the DNC an additional opportunity to present evidence of voter suppression or violation of the decree's provisions by the RNC.  It failed to do so:

In order to extend the decree, the DNC needed to show that the RNC violated the terms of pact. . . . However, Vazquez, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, said in his ruling that despite the various claims, the Democrats had not shown any violation "by a preponderance of the evidence." . . . 

"We are gratified that the judge recognized our full compliance with the consent decree and rejected the DNC’s baseless claims," said RNC communications director Ryan Mahoney. 

"Today’s ruling will allow the RNC to work more closely with state parties and campaigns to do what we do best, ensure that more people vote through our unmatched field program." 

While the consent decree has been in effect, other Republican organizations, such as the RNLA, NRCC, NRSC, Republican state parties, and other groups, have worked to ensure that elections are open, fair, and honest.  As Mr. Ryder noted, we look forward to a new era where the RNC can, if it so chooses, be a part of this effort to protect the right to vote of every eligible voter.