The Washington Time’s lead story today is about the Justice Department’s objection to a change of elections in Kinston, North Carolina. Why is this an important story? Because it is another worrisome sign of how the Holder Civil Rights Division is using the Voting Rights Act to benefit a political party instead of to protect voters. Kinston is a majority black town, and in November of 2008 its citizens voted 2 to 1 to change their city council elections from partisan to nonpartisan. It is also a one party town – all elected members of the city council and the mayor are Democrats. Yet despite its overwhelming support by the voters of the town, the Civil Rights Division objected to the change to nonpartisan elections under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because it would potentially hurt Democratic candidates.
I wrote about this in September at National Review, but the Times story today is a must-read for newly-discovered details. Particularly relevant is the admission by a black member of the city council that “nothing is stopping black voters in Kinston from going to the polls” other than apathy. In other words, there are absolutely no barriers of any kind preventing blacks from voting, which is what the Voting Rights Act is intended to achieve. Even the head of the local NAACP expresses skepticism about DOJ’s involvement. The DOJ is improperly using the Voting Rights Act to guarantee that Democratic candidates win elections, rather than using it as intended to ensure that minority voters have the same opportunity as other voters to get to the polls and elect their candidate of choice.