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DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

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DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Old 10-20-09, 10:16 PM
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DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

...apparently wouldn't know who to vote for without a "Democrat" on the ballot.

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...partisan-vote/

Justice concludes black voters need Democratic Party
U.S. blocks N.C. city's nonpartisan vote

By Ben Conery
KINSTON, N.C. | Voters in this small city decided overwhelmingly last year to do away with the party affiliation of candidates in local elections, but the Obama administration recently overruled the electorate and decided that equal rights for black voters cannot be achieved without the Democratic Party.

The Justice Department's ruling, which affects races for City Council and mayor, went so far as to say partisan elections are needed so that black voters can elect their "candidates of choice" - identified by the department as those who are Democrats and almost exclusively black.

The department ruled that white voters in Kinston will vote for blacks only if they are Democrats and that therefore the city cannot get rid of party affiliations for local elections because that would violate black voters' right to elect the candidates they want.


Several federal and local politicians would like the city to challenge the decision in court. They say voter apathy is the largest barrier to black voters' election of candidates they prefer and that the Justice Department has gone too far in trying to influence election results here.

Stephen LaRoque, a former Republican state lawmaker who led the drive to end partisan local elections, called the Justice Department's decision "racial as well as partisan."

"On top of that, you have an unelected bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., overturning a valid election," he said. "That is un-American."

The decision, made by the same Justice official who ordered the dismissal of a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia, has irritated other locals as well. They bristle at federal interference in this city of nearly 23,000 people, two-thirds of whom are black.

In interviews in sleepy downtown Kinston - a place best known as a road sign on the way to the Carolina beaches - residents said partisan voting is largely unimportant because people are personally acquainted with their elected officials and are familiar with their views.

"To begin with, 'nonpartisan elections' is a misconceived and deceiving statement because even though no party affiliation shows up on a ballot form, candidates still adhere to certain ideologies and people understand that, and are going to identify with who they feel has their best interest at heart," said William Cooke, president of the Kinston/Lenoir County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Mr. Cooke said his group does not take a position on this issue and would not disclose his personal stance, but expressed skepticism about the Justice Department's involvement.

(click link to read entire article, but some more interesting sections quoted below)

----------------------

Justice Department spokesman Alejandro Miyar denied that the decision was intended to help the Democratic Party. He said the ruling was based on "what the facts are in a particular jurisdiction" and how it affects blacks' ability to elect the candidates they favor.

"The determination of who is a 'candidate of choice' for any group of voters in a given jurisdiction is based on an analysis of the electoral behavior of those voters within a particular jurisdiction," he said.

Critics on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are not so sure. "The Voting Rights Act is supposed to protect against situations when black voters are locked out because of racism," said Abigail Thernstrom, a Republican appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. "There is no entitlement to elect a candidate they prefer on the assumption that all black voters prefer Democratic candidates."


----------------------

"Removing the partisan cue in municipal elections will, in all likelihood, eliminate the single factor that allows black candidates to be elected to office," Loretta King, who at the time was the acting head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, wrote in a letter to the city.

Ms. King wrote that voters in Kinston vote more along racial than party lines and without the potential for voting a straight Democratic ticket, "the limited remaining support from white voters for a black Democratic candidate will diminish even more."

Ms. King is the same official who put a stop to the New Black Panther Party case. In that case, the Justice Department filed a civil complaint in Philadelphia after two members of the black revolutionary group dressed in quasi-military garb stood outside a polling place on election last year and purportedly intimidated voters with racial insults, slurs and a nightstick.

After a judge ordered a default judgments against the Panthers, who refused to answer the charges or appear in court, the Justice Department dropped the charges against all but one of the defendants, saying "the facts and the law did not support pursuing" them.


----------------------

Black voters account for 9,702 of the city's 15,402 registered voters but typically don't vote at the rates whites do.

As a result of the low turnout, Ms. King wrote, "black voters have had limited success in electing candidates of choice during recent municipal elections."


----------------------

Mrs. Thernstrom of the civil rights commission blasted the department's interpretation of the law.

"The Voting Rights Act is not supposed to be compensating for failure of voters to show up on Election Day," she said. "The Voting Rights Act doesn't guarantee an opportunity to elect a 'candidate of choice.' ... My 'candidate of choice' loses all the time in an election."
So how is this decision not astoundingly and nefariously racist (not to mention incredibly insulting to African-Americans) on the part of the DOJ Civil Rights division?
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Old 10-20-09, 10:23 PM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by jfoobar View Post


So how is this decision not astoundingly and nefariously racist (not to mention incredibly insulting to African-Americans) on the part of the DOJ Civil Rights division?
Because black people cant be racist /end thread

Seriously that is really fucked up. This administration is quickly turning into a dictatorship.
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Old 10-20-09, 11:30 PM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

This administration is quickly turning into a dictatorship.
Well.... he did promise change
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Old 10-20-09, 11:57 PM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

I said in another thread that the Democrats needed racism to remain viable. I think this helps drive the point home.
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Old 10-21-09, 12:02 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Why not just put a black dot beside the African American candidates name on the ballot so they would know who the black people are?

Maybe a little cartoon devil beside all the white candidates names.
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Old 10-21-09, 12:39 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Most blatantly racist story I've heard in a while. Can't believe the town/state isn't fighting back. I guess Federalism really is dead.
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Old 10-21-09, 02:36 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

A town of 23,000 isn't going to fight this. The don't have the resources. Their attorney is probably below average, and the cost of fighting is probably huge compared to their yearly budget. So do you fire 5 policemen, or do you drop it?
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Old 10-21-09, 02:51 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

This is what the DOJ actually said:

James P. Cauley III, Esq.
Rose Rand Wallace
P.O. Drawer 2367
Wilson, North Carolina 27894-2367

Dear Mr. Cauley:

This refers to the change to nonpartisan elections, with a plurality-vote requirement, for the City of Kinston in Lenoir County, North Carolina, submitted to the Attorney General pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. 1973c. We received your response to our June 10, 2009, request for additional information on June 16, 2009; additional information was received on August 4, 2009.

We have carefully considered the information you have provided, as well as information from other interested parties. Under Section 5, the Attorney General must determine whether the submitting authority has met its burden of showing that the proposed change "neither has the purpose nor will have the effect" of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group. As discussed further below, I cannot conclude that the city has sustained its burden of showing that the proposed changes do not have a retrogressive effect. Therefore, based on the information available to us, I object to the voting changes on behalf of the Attorney General.

According to the 2000 Census, the City of Kinston has a total population of 23,688 people, of whom 14,837 (62.6%) are African-American. The total voting age population is 17,906, of whom 10,525 (58.8%) are African-American. The American Community Survey for 2005-2007 estimates the total population to be 22,649, of whom 14,967 (66.6%) are African-American. As of October 31, 2008, the city has 14,799 registered voters, of whom 9,556 (64.6%) are African-American.

Although black persons comprise a majority of the city's registered voters, in three of the past four general municipal elections, African Americans comprised a minority of the electorate on election day; in the fourth , they may have been a slight majority. For that reason, they are viewed as a minority for analytical purposes. Minority turnout is relevant to determining whether a change under Section 5 is retrogressive. Hale County v. United States, 496 F.Supp 1206 (D.D.C.).

Black voters have had limited success in electing candidates of choice during recent municipal elections. The success that they have achieved has resulted from cohesive support for candidates during the Democratic primary (where black voters represent a larger percentage of the electorate), combined with crossover voting by whites in the general election. It is the partisan makeup of the general electorate that results in enough white cross-over to allow the black community to elect a candidate of choice.

This small, but critical, amount of white crossover votes results from the party affiliation of black-preferred candidates, most if not all of whom have been black. Numerous elected municipal and county officials confirm the results of our statistical analyses that a majority of white Democrats support white Republicans over black Democrats in Kinston city elections. At the same time, they also acknowledged that a small group of white Democrats maintain strong party allegiance and will continue to vote along party lines, regardless of the race of the candidate. Many of these white crossover voters are simply using straight-ticket voting. As a result, while the racial identity of the candidate greatly diminishes the supportive effect of the partisan cue, it does not totally eliminate it.

It follows, therefore, that the elimination of party affiliation on the ballot will likely reduce the ability of blacks to elect candidates of choice. Black candidates will likely lose a significant amount of crossover votes due to the high degree of racial polarization present in city elections. Without party loyalty available to counter-balance the consistent trend of racial bloc voting, blacks will face greater difficulty winning general elections. Our analysis of election returns indicates that cross-over voting is greater in partisan general elections than in the closed primaries. Thus, statistical analysis supports the conclusion that given a change to a non-partisan elections, black preferred candidates will receive fewer white cross-over votes.

The change to nonpartisan elections would also likely eliminate the party’s campaign support and other assistance that is provided to black candidates because it eliminates the party"s role in the election. The party provides forums for black candidates to meet with voters who may otherwise be unreachable without the party's assistance. In addition, the party provides campaign funds to candidates, without which minority candidates may lag behind their white counterparts in campaign spending.

Removing the partisan cue in municipal elections will, in all likelihood, eliminate the single factor that allows black candidates to be elected to office. In Kinston elections, voters base their choice more on the race of a candidate rather than his or her political affiliation, and without either the appeal to party loyalty or the ability to vote a straight ticket, the limited remaining support from white voters for a black Democratic candidate will diminish even more. And given that the city's electorate is overwhelmingly Democratic, while the motivating factor for this change may be partisan, the effect will be strictly racial.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the submitting authority has the burden of showing that a submitted change has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect. Georgia v. United States, 411 U.S. 526 (1973); Procedures for the Administration of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 28 C.F.R. 51.52. In light of the considerations discussed above, I cannot conclude that your burden has been sustained in this instance. Therefore, on behalf of the Attorney General, I must object to the change to nonpartisan elections, with a plurality vote requirement.

Under Section 5 you have the right to seek a declaratory judgment from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that the proposed change neither has the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. 28 C.F.R. 51.44. In addition, you may request that the Attorney General reconsider the objection. 28 C.F.R. 51.45. However, unless and until the objection is withdrawn or a judgment from the District of Columbia court is obtained, the change to nonpartisan elections, with a plurality vote requirement, continues to be legally unenforceable. Clark v. Roemer, 500 U.S. 646 (1991); 28 C.F.R. 51.10.

To enable us to meet our responsibility to enforce the Voting Rights Act, please inform us of the action the city plans to take concerning this matter. If you have any questions, please call Mr. J. Eric Rich (202-305-0107), an attorney in the Voting Section.

Sincerely,

/s/
Loretta King
Acting Assistant Attorney General
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/sec_5/ltr/l_081709.php
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Old 10-21-09, 03:24 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Translation: The black voters won't know who to vote for unless DEMOCRAT is very clear beside the name.

Complete bullshit.

EDITED TO ADD: Post-racialism, my ass.
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Old 10-21-09, 07:57 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Just put "Democrat" beside EVERYBODY'S name. That should increase black turnout.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:02 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

That letter is deplorable. But the bigger problem is with the Voting Rights Act. I wonder if this was, say, a Massachusetts town, instead of a North Carolina town, doing this, the same action would have been taken.

In Kinston elections, voters base their choice more on the race of a candidate rather than his or her political affiliation
That's great - then all blacks have to do is turn out to the polls and vote since they make up almost 2/3 of the electorate. Ooooops.

Last edited by Red Dog; 10-21-09 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:09 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
This is what the DOJ actually said:

http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/sec_5/ltr/l_081709.php
I really hope you are not ok with this response. Please tell me that you see this as nothing more than affirmative action and racism for political office. I mean, really? We're not supposed to expect the voters to actually KNOW THE NAME of the person they want to vote for? P.A.T.H.E.T.I.C!
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Old 10-21-09, 09:13 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

This is pathetic.

I love how it's considered unfair that they generally don't have as high of a turnout. Why even have elections, it's clear someone has decided who the people really want.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:43 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by Hank Ringworm View Post
Translation: The black voters won't know who to vote for unless DEMOCRAT is very clear beside the name.
The DOJ's actual rationale is that the white voters won't hold their nose and vote for a black candidate unless he's a Democrat.

Of course, you could point out -- quite correctly -- that this town has more black voters than white voters, so if the black community could get its act together and increase turnout, it wouldn't matter who the white voters vote for.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:46 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by mosquitobite View Post
I really hope you are not ok with this response. Please tell me that you see this as nothing more than affirmative action and racism for political office. I mean, really? We're not supposed to expect the voters to actually KNOW THE NAME of the person they want to vote for? P.A.T.H.E.T.I.C!
I'm not OK with it, but nor am I OK with the idea that we can just pretend that it's perfectly OK that white people won't vote for a black candidate unless their party loyalty overcomes their racial prejudices. I don't know what the best solution is.

I just thought that if people wanted to post rants about this situation, they might as well be well-informed rants.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:49 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

So it's assumed people will know the race but not the party when they go in to vote? Or are they using the picture ballot touch panel sort of thing. Personally I think all ballots nationwide should just be the name, no picture/race indication, no party affiliation and if you don't know who to vote for by doing some basic research chances are YOU SHOULDN'T BE VOTING.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:50 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
I just thought that if people wanted to post rants about this situation, they might as well be well-informed rants.
I'd prefer voters be well-informed before voting myself
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Old 10-21-09, 09:55 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
So it's assumed people will know the race but not the party when they go in to vote? Or are they using the picture ballot touch panel sort of thing. Personally I think all ballots nationwide should just be the name, no picture/race indication, no party affiliation and if you don't know who to vote for by doing some basic research chances are YOU SHOULDN'T BE VOTING.
Party affiliation -- particularly in larger elections -- conveys important information about a candidate and serves as a useful proxy. In many cases, it's more efficient (in terms of use of the voters' time) to vote along party lines than to invest significant amounts of time in investigating the specific candidates' positions.
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Old 10-21-09, 10:01 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Party affiliation -- particularly in larger elections -- conveys important information about a candidate and serves as a useful proxy. In many cases, it's more efficient (in terms of use of the voters' time) to vote along party lines than to invest significant amounts of time in investigating the specific candidates' positions.
By all means, lets resort to the lowest common denominator and call it 'efficiency.' We don't want to have people spend a few minutes researching something.

It would be far better if party affiliations were removed from ballots to force people to actually do a little research instead of simply picking a candidate based on the letter after their name. Granted, 98% of the arguments in this forum are simply based on who is the 'home team,' and this forum has a higher percentage of people with some kind of clue than the real world.
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Old 10-21-09, 10:07 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Black voters have had limited success in electing candidates of choice during recent municipal elections.
What does that mean? They didn't elect black candidates? Maybe some black people don't care about the race of the candidate
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Old 10-21-09, 10:08 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
That letter is deplorable. But the bigger problem is with the Voting Rights Act.
-


I've been saying that for a while
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Old 10-21-09, 10:08 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Party affiliation -- particularly in larger elections -- conveys important information about a candidate and serves as a useful proxy. In many cases, it's more efficient (in terms of use of the voters' time) to vote along party lines than to invest significant amounts of time in investigating the specific candidates' positions.
In other words it continues perpetuating a two party system that has led us to the highly partisan situation we currently find ourselves in where frequently both sides just level mindless/baseless arguments back and forth at each other based on nothing more than a R or D after the person's name

Who's talking about significant amounts of time? Usually there's just a couple of key issues people base their vote on (aside from the R or D) and there are usually plenty of websites and news papers that run comparisons of the candidates by the time it comes to the election. You'd think people would be willing to take at least 5 mins to figure out who to vote for before making a decision on something that has such a huge impact on them.
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Old 10-21-09, 10:10 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by Venusian View Post
What does that mean? They didn't elect black candidates? Maybe some black people don't care about the race of the candidate
Actually the whole letter/situation smacks of the presumption that blacks are expected to vote lock step for Dems
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Old 10-21-09, 10:13 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
Who's talking about significant amounts of time? Usually there's just a couple of key issues people base their vote on (aside from the R or D) and there are usually plenty of websites and news papers that run comparisons of the candidates by the time it comes to the election. You'd think people would be willing to take at least 5 mins to figure out who to vote for before making a decision on something that has such a huge impact on them.
Seriously. I would like to know what constitutes a 'signficant amount of time.' I spent about 20 minutes researching total on how to vote for the upcoming Virginia races and that includes the little races (not that it really matters for me - I live in liberalville). With the internet, it's never been easier.
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Old 10-21-09, 10:16 AM
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Re: DOJ says NC town can't have non-partisan elections because black people...

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
Actually the whole letter/situation smacks of the presumption that blacks are expected to vote lock step for Dems
It's worse than that. The presumption is that blacks are incapable of finding out who is the black candidate and that the letter after the name is necessary to advertise the black candidate or the Clintonian black-friendly candidate.
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