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Data frames are processed as raster if they contain visible group layers that have individual layers that are not visible, and are symbolized with transparency or BMP/picture marker symbology.
In the following example, the States layer in the group layer named Polys is set to 50% transparent but is not checked on. Because the States layer is symbolized with transparency, it still forces the group layer to be processed as raster, and thus the entire data frame, to rasterize on output.
This is a known issue.