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Federal judge declines to find GOP engaging in poll intimidation

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of New Jersey [official website] declined to rule [order, PDF; opinion, PDF] Saturday that the Republican National Committee (RNC) [party website] has engaged in poll intimidation. The decision was spurred by an order [CNN report] late last month for the RNC to provide information in regards to "any efforts regarding poll watching or poll observation," showing any potential collusion with Donald Trump's poll monitoring campaign, aimed at intimidating minority voters—a violation of an old consent decree. Lawyers for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) [party website] argued that, in regards to potential poll intimidation, Trump and the RNC are "inextricably tied together." The RNC argued, and the court agreed, that the DNC has provided insufficient evidence to support their argument. In addition, the court found that the RNC produced documentary evidence showing there is not an agent relationship between the Trump campaign and RNC in regards to these so-called "ballot security measures." The judge, while ruling in favor of the RNC, said that the court, following election day, will hear the parties "as to additional discovery on this point in order to develop a full record to determine whether an extension is warranted."

Voter rights continue to plague this election cycle. Last month the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] struck down [JURIST report] a New Hampshire law that banned ballot selfies. Last week the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] denied an emergency motion [JURIST report] from North Carolina counties to extend the hours of early voting. Earlier this month a district court judge ruled [JURIST report] that Ohio must allow most unlawfully purged voters to vote in November. In September a district court judge granted [JURIST report] a motion blocking Illinois from allowing voter registration on election day in the state's most populated counties. Also in September the US Supreme Court [official website] denied a motion to reinstate [JURIST report] North Carolina's recently overturned law that limited early voting to 10 days and required voters to present approved identification cards

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