The case the Department of Justice has made against Ike Brown and the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee definitively shows racism but it's quite unlike what has been reported by the Clarion-Ledger and Sid Salter (C-L's right-wing pundit).
In 2000, the Republican Party of Florida generated a list of felons to be purged from the voter rolls. But the criteria to be purged was based on skin color, not whether or not the person had been a felon. Thousands of African-Americans were denied the right to vote for being black. No investigation was made by the Dept. of Justice.
In 2004, operating under orders from the black, Republican Secy. of State of Ohio, Ken Blackwell, elections staffs reduced the number of computerized voting machines allocated to large black voting districts. The effect was that black people had to wait hours to vote and many left in frustration without voting. The Dept. of Justice did not investigate.
Another anamoly in Ohio were large, predominately Democratic districts where purportedly thousands of people voted for Bush. The culprit appears to be electonic vote switching which cannot be tracked without a paper trail, which Ohio did not mandate in their voting machines. Again, the Dept. of Justice did not investigate.
But down here in Mississippi in little Noxubee Cnty. with a population of 12,500, Mr. Brown's case has garnered national attention as the first case of black voter discrimination against whites.
Yes, there is prejudice involved in this matter. But the bias is that the Dept. of Justice has twiddled it's thumbs and whistled "Dixie" while larger, more onerous cases of voter discrimination have occurred.
Summation of the case against Brown in an editorial from the Clarion-Ledger out of Jackson, MS, owned by Gannett.
The pantheon of courageous black political leaders who paved the way for voting rights for all Mississippians includes names like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Vernon Dahmer and three young men named Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner.
Ike Brown's name won't appear on that list - because somewhere along the way, Brown forgot the examples of those heroic figures in the civil rights struggle.
In a first-of-its-kind ruling, U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee ruled last week that the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee and its flamboyant chairman, Brown, are guilty of discriminating against white voters in the conduct of county elections in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Lee ruled that there was "intent" to discriminate as well.
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In a recent letter to this newspaper, Brown bragged about his status on the state Democratic Executive Committee and threatened a number of prominent Democratic office holders with political retribution. He justified those broad political threats by pointing to Mississippi's history of discrimination by whites against "blacks and poor whites."
But despite acknowledging those past wrongs in the state's past, Lee's ruling made clear that Brown and his followers in Noxubee County are guilty of discriminatory acts against white voters that is as arbitrary and offensive as some of the old antics used by whites to impede black citizens from voting.
Lee's ruling addressed the following specific acts of manipulation, intimidation and fraud designed to disenfranchise Noxubee County white voters outlined by Justice Department investigators:
·That Brown and the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee operated in such a way as to discriminate against white voters and white voter-preferred candidates.
·That the alleged discriminatory operation of Noxubee County primary elections was conducted with the purpose of diluting the voting strength of white voters and reducing the opportunities for white voter-preferred candidates to be elected and that the alleged discrimination violates the anti-intimidation provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
·That the Noxubee County Election Commission has failed to purge the county's voter registration list of persons not entitled to vote in county elections and that the election commission knowingly allowed Brown and the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee to give improper instructions to poll managers in general elections.
·That Brown and his co-defendants have intentionally practiced racial discrimination, and that these actions have had the racially discriminatory result of reducing the electoral opportunities of white voters and white voter-preferred candidates.
The case illustrates what Mississippians already know from hard experience - that racism and discrimination are wrong in all hues. Regardless of race, color or creed, the right to vote is a precious one that must be protected at all costs from those who would subvert that right for their own purposes.
Brown should be held accountable.
[I don't disagree that Brown should be held accountable. But for the DoJ to pursue such a small fish in the face of gross voter theft in two presidential election by the Republican Party is out of scale, unjust and a partisan witch-hunt which El Presidente hypocritically claims is being committed against his corrupt staff. ]
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Scott Tyner is from Hattiesburg, MS.
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