By Lynn R. Mitchell
In the midst of the ongoing discussion of a 2016 Primary versus Convention, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been informed of the Republican Party of Virginia’s vote by the state central committee to require mandatory fees to attend a convention.
In a letter from the ACLU’s Claire Guthrie Gastañaga to RPV Chairman John Whitbeck dated June 23, 2015, the ACLU warns, “Such a fee would unfairly exclude Republicans from voting based on their economic means, and would invite prolonged and costly litigation.”
There followed a reminder that the Party endured litigation in 1994:
The last time the RPV charged a fee for participation in a nominating convention was in 1994, when the party nominated its candidate for U.S. Senate. Three delegates challenged the fee under the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court ultimately determined that the fee was subject to preclearance by the Department of Justice under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and that the plaintiffs were entitled to challenge the fee as a poll tax under Section 10 of the Voting Rights Act. Morse v. Republican Party, 517 U.S. 186 (1996).