Monday, November 01, 2004
Repubs violate decades-old consent decree with challenges scheme
Being racist and devious is an ugly combination. Illegal too. From the AP:
Republicans will not be permitted to use a list of 23,000 registered voters to challenge people at Ohio polls Tuesday because doing so unfairly targets minority voters, a federal judge ruled.
Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise on Monday said the compilation of the list violates a decades-old order prohibiting such actions. "The public interest is always served by encouraging people to vote," Debevoise said.
The ruling in U.S. District Court in Newark came in the case of Ebony Malone, 20, of Cleveland, who opposed the GOP challenges in her home state. Malone and Democrats contended the challenges to voters around Cleveland and Columbus were designed to keep poor and minority voters from casting ballots. Republicans said the list was compiled from thousands of pieces of mail returned after they were sent to registered voters.
Debevoise said Malone "faced irreparable injury in that her constitutional right to vote was threatened."
The judge said the GOP's mailings and analysis of the mail should have been cleared by him before it was undertaken. Debevoise heard the arguments because he presided over a related matter more than 20 years ago. . .
Malone asked Debevoise to intervene because he brokered a decades-old agreement stemming from a suit by Democrats to block Republican voter challenges in areas of New Jersey with heavy minority concentrations. That suit resulted in an agreement by the Republican National Committee to seek Debevoise's approval before conducting further so-called "ballot security" measures in New Jersey or elsewhere. Since then, the Debevoise agreement has been invoked in cases in California, North Carolina and Louisiana.