Friday, March 9, 2012

DNC Statement on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in DNC v. RNC

Washington DC – The DNC released the following statement on the decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the District Court’s decision to affirm the extension of the consent decree against the Republican National Committee. As the court described it, the decree has as its central purpose “preventing the intimidation and suppression of minority voters” by the Republican Party. 

Please see a statement below on this decision from DNC Counsel and Voter Protection Director Will Crossley:

“We applaud the decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the extension of the consent decree that has been in place since 1982.  As this and previous rulings have noted, Republicans have a history of working to restrict access to the polls, including the illegal targeting of suppression schemes at minority populations. 

“The primary purpose of the consent decree, as stated by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, is ‘to prevent the RNC from ‘using, [or] appearing to use, racial or ethnic criteria in connection with ballot integrity, ballot security or other effort to prevent or remedy suspected vote’ and to neither ‘hinder [nor] discourage qualified voters from exercising the right to vote.’

“Every Republican argument against a continuation of enforcement was rejected by the Third Circuit. The court found that the consent decree is not a violation of free speech but rather an important tool for protecting minority voters and preventing Republican voter suppression efforts.  The Republican argument that because the President, Attorney General and former RNC Chairman are African-American, minority voters would be adequately protected from suppression efforts was rightly called an “offensive” assumption by the court.
“Finally, The RNC could not produce a single instance of voter fraud to support their claim that their so-called ballot security measures are essential to preventing voter fraud. Once again Republican allegations of “fraud” have been revealed for what they are: simple cover for attacks on the right to vote. 

“The Democratic Party will always stand on the side of those defending access to the ballot for all eligible Americans. The right to vote is the sacred right of all Americans and we must not forget how hard many Americans fought – African-Americans and women in particular – to secure that right. The Third Circuit’s decision in DNC v. RNC reaffirms  the legal protections that those targeted by Republican voter suppression tactics may continue to depend upon.”

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