Democrats fear an Obama-appointed New Jersey District Court Judge, Michael Vazquez, opened the door for Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee to suppress one of Americans’ most basic right as citizensthe right to vote.
Vazquez reversed a 37-year-old ruling preventing any political party from using tactics to suppress voter turnout. This ruling derived from a 1981 gubernatorial race between Democrat Jim Florio and Republican Tom Kean Sr., which was decided by merely 1,797 voters, the narrowest margin in the history of the Garden State. The catalyst for the Kean victory was a voter suppression campaign, launched by the Republican National Committee where preliminary ballots were mailed to African American voters. Depending on who they voted for, an attempt to remove their registration to vote was made.
To compound this, they would employ officers to monitor the polls and in predominately Black precincts, wearing arm bands that read “National Ballot Security Task Force” and signs that said “Warning: This area is being patrolled by the National Ballot Security Task Force. It is a crime to falsify a ballot or to violate election laws.” Upon the results of the election, the DNC took the RNC to court where they got a settlement that ordered the GOP to “refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities” anywhere in the country.
Fast forward to the election of 2016, when then candidate Trump sounded alarm bells to his base that the opposition was posed to rig the election by coordinating voter fraud nationwide. Trump called on a crowd in Pennsylvania, “So I hope you people could, sort of, not just vote on the 8th could go around and look at other polling places and make sure it’s 100 percent fine.”He also urged his staff to recruit Trump election observers via the official campaign website. He even urged law enforcement to keep a watch on the proceedings.
Actions such as this have conjured memories of the 1981 N.J. governor race. The campaign manager for Kean was a part of Trump’s team. This and other factors ignited the DNC to file and win a settlement in which they depose Sean Spicer, who at that time was the communications director for the RNC. They argued that since Spicer was present at the campaign’s poll monitoring operations at Trump Tower on Election Day, he was in violation of a decree that ordered officials from the RNC to “refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities” anywhere in the country.” Vasquez stated that the DNC didn’t provide enough evidence to support its case.