In 1981, the Republican National Committee allegedly engaged in an illegal campaign to intimidate minority voters, in some cases even enlisting armed, off-duty law enforcement as part of a “National Ballot Security Task Force.” The RNC eventually settled the lawsuit by agreeing to several conditions, including a promise that they would “refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts” for the purpose of targeting voters by race and discouraging them from voting.
Last year, a federal appeals court rejected the RNC’s request to lift this ban on voter intimidation. Under the lower courts’ decisions, the anti-intimidation order will remain in effect until at least 2017. The Supreme Court turned down the RNC’s petition to review this case Monday. Thus the Republicans will likely remain subject to the order’s ban on voter intimidation for at least one more presidential election cycle.
Although the RNC remained subject to this court order last November, other Republican Party groups actively partnered with Tea Party organizations to target African-American neighborhoods for anti-voter fraud witchhunts. Similarly, the Tea Party group True The Vote encouraged its members to circumvent the court order by engaging in voter suppression tactics independently of the Republican Party.