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US federal court terminates Republican-Democrat consent decree on 'ballot security'

[JURIST] A US federal judge on Monday terminated [order, PDF] a consent decree [text, PDF] requiring the Republican National Committee (RNC) [political website] to get court approval for any "ballot security" measures it planned to implement.

Judge John Michael Vazquez of the US District Court for the District of New Jersey [official website] found that the DNC had failed to prove [opinion, PDF] that the RNC had violated the consent decree prior to December 1, 2017. In November, Vazquez had declined [order, PDF] to extend the decree for another eight years, finding instead that the December 1, 2017, deadline imposed by the court [order, PDF] in 2009 would become effective absent further proof from the DNC. On Monday, Vazquez confirmed that no such violation had been proven by a preponderance of the evidence, and thus terminated the consent decree in line with the 2009 order.

The original consent decree was adopted in 1982 after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) [political website] brought suit [complaint, PDF] against the RNC, its New Jersey affiliate and several individual officers seeking to prevent them from "engaging in activities to intimidate, threaten or coerce minority voters." The DNC alleged that the RNC had engaged in "voter caging" [Brennan Center materials] in New Jersey, wherein mail returned as undeliverable is used as a basis for purging voting rolls.

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