Federal judge: Nonpartisan elections are unfair to minorities
posted at 4:29 pm on December 27, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
The phrase voter literacy test conjures up thoughts of devious and pernicious practices once used primarily in the Deep South to disenfranchise minority voters. Yet, a ruling by a federal judge last week seems to go overboard in the opposite direction. From The Daily Caller:
A U.S. District Court judge has rejected a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965—filled [sic] when the Department of Justice barred the city of Kinston, N.C. from holding nonpartisan elections—reasoning that lack of access to party affiliation would discriminate against minority voters who otherwise wouldn’t know how to find Democratic candidates on a ballot.
The challenge was initiated after the Justice Department rejected a 2008 referendum vote in which the city of Kinston voted to stop listing candidates’ party affiliations on ballots.
Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department must approve changes to election law in regions with a history, however distant, of racial discrimination.
In a letter to attorneys for the city of Kinston dated August 17, 2009, the Holder Justice Department explained that “the elimination of party affiliation on the ballot will likely reduce the ability of blacks to elect candidates of choice.”
Maybe there’s a subtlety here that I’m missing because I’m not black or liberal, but it sounds to me as though the U.S. Attorney General is saying that his fellow blacks lack the capacity to exercise due diligence when it comes to sizing up candidates for elected office. And here I thought it was supposed to be conservatives who believed that blacks are too dumb to tie their shoes.
Needless to say, the ACLU supported the decision of Judge John D. Bates, and so did the NAACP. Meantime, if a major voting bloc in the nation needs to have a “D” next to candidates’ names so they can tell which one to vote for, maybe a mandatory course in real voter literacy would not be that bad a thing.
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