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DNC v. RNC Consent Decree

In 1982, after caging in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods, the Republican National Committee and New Jersey Republican State Committee entered into a consent decree with their Democratic party counterparts.

Published: November 5, 2016

In 1982, after caging in predom­in­antly African-Amer­ican and Latino neigh­bor­hoods, the Repub­lican National Commit­tee and New Jersey Repub­lican State Commit­tee entered into a consent decree with their Demo­cratic party coun­ter­parts. Under that decree and its 1987 successor, the Repub­lican party organ­iz­a­tions agreed to allow a federal court to review proposed “ballot secur­ity” programs, includ­ing any proposed voter caging.

The consent decree has been invoked several times, by the parties to the decree and by others. In late 2008, the Demo­cratic National Commit­tee and Obama for Amer­ica sought to enforce the consent decree, claim­ing that the RNC had not submit­ted alleged ballot secur­ity oper­a­tions for review. After the elec­tion, the RNC asked the federal court to vacate or substan­tially modify the decree. The court denied the RNC’s motion to vacate the consent decree and ordered the decree remain in effect until Decem­ber 2017. The RNC then appealed to the Third Circuit, which unan­im­ously rejec­ted the appeal and affirmed the District Court’s decision.  A subsequent peti­tion for rehear­ing en banc by the full Third Circuit, and a certi­or­ari peti­tion to U.S. Supreme Court, were denied.

On Octo­ber 26, 2016, the DNC filed a motion asking that the court find the RNC had viol­ated the decree. On Novem­ber 5, after abbre­vi­ated discov­ery, the district court denied the DNC’s request, ruling that the DNC had not provided suffi­cient evid­ence of coordin­a­tion between the Trump campaign and the RNC on ballot-secur­ity oper­a­tions, but will allow the DNC to offer further evid­ence after the elec­tion.

Click here to learn more about voter caging.

Click here to learn more about ballot secur­ity programs.

Related Court Docu­ments

Order Deny­ing Request to Extend Decree (Novem­ber 5, 2016)
RNC’s Memor­andum in Oppos­i­tion to Order to Show Cause (Octo­ber 31, 2016)
DNC’s Memor­andum in Support of Order to Show Cause (Octo­ber 26, 2016)

Peti­tion for Rehear­ing (March 22, 2012)
Third Circuit Opin­ion (March 8, 2012)

Debevoise Order (Decem­ber 1, 2009)
Debevoise Opin­ion (Decem­ber 1, 2009)
RNC Post-Hear­ing Brief (June 26, 2009)
DNC Post-Hear­ing Brief (June 26, 2009)
RNC Reply Brief (Febru­ary 19, 2009)
DNC Brief Oppos­ing Motion to Vacate (Janu­ary 19, 2009)
RNC Brief in Support of Motion (Novem­ber 3, 2008)

2008 (several states)
DNC Brief (Novem­ber 3, 2008)
DNC Brief Atty. Certi­fic­a­tion of Exhib­its (Novem­ber 3, 2008)
OFA Inter­ven­tion Memo (Novem­ber 3, 2008)
Minute Entry (Novem­ber 3, 2008)

2004 (Ohio)
Malone Dismissal (Febru­ary 3, 2005)
Malone en banc Decision (Novem­ber 9, 2004)
Malone Appel­late Decision (Novem­ber 1, 2004)
Malone Order (Novem­ber 1, 2004)
Malone Inter­venor PI brief (Novem­ber 1, 2004)
Malone Inter­venor Complaint (Octo­ber 31, 2004) 
Malone Memo in Support of Inter­ven­tion (Octo­ber 28, 2004)
Malone Motion to Inter­vene (Octo­ber 28, 2004)

2004 (South Dakota)
Daschle Tempor­ary Restrain­ing Order (Novem­ber 2, 2004)
Daschle SD Complaint (Novem­ber 1, 2004)

2002 (New Jersey)
Order (Octo­ber 31, 2002)

1990 (North Caro­lina)
Order (Novem­ber 5, 1990)

1987 (several states)
Consent Decree (July 27, 1987)

Original 1981 case (New Jersey)
Consent Decree (Novem­ber 1, 1982)
Complaint (Febru­ary 11, 1982)