|Justice Department rejects non-partisan voting |
ENCToday.com - David Anderson, staff writer, August 18, 2009
Kinston North Carolina Citizens heard the U.S. Department's views on non-partisan voting this week, which did not agree with Kinston's voters. City Attorney Jim Cauley late Monday, acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King stated "The elimination of party affiliation on the ballot will likely reduce the ablility of blacks to elect candidates of choice." Under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the DOJ must approve voting changes in selected states and communities such as those in Lenoir County to ensure such changes would not hinder minority voters.
King wrote that data from several prior elections in Kinston indicated that few black residents typically voted, and candidates who would appeal to the black community, often vote Democrat. She states, "Black candidates will likely lose a significant amount of crossover votes due tot he high degree of racial polarization present in city elections." In a non-partisan system, which the majority of North Carolina municipalities have, a primary election is not needed.
B.J. Murphy, who will be the lone Republican candidate for Kinston mayor, said the Justice Department's decision was a "slap in the face" to the city voters who voted 2-1 in favor of non-partisan elections during a referendum last November. "We're Kinstonians, we're Americans, we're not Democrats and Republicans," Murphy said. "How many Democrats and Republicans does it take to fix a pothole? The answer is none. The reason why it's none is it doesn't matter. City leaders fix potholes and protect the community."
“We’re Kinstonians, we’re Americans, we’re not Democrats and Republicans,” Murphy said. “How many Democrats and Republicans does it take to fix a pothole? The answer is none. The reason why it’s none is it doesn’t matter. City leaders fix potholes and protect the community.” Councitman Joe Tyson was the lone council member to vote against placing non-partisan voting on the November Ballot last August. During the same council meeting, he also voted against a proposed resolution in favor of non-partisan elections because it had no provision for creating districts or wards." Tyson contends wards or districts, which are used in Lenoir county commissioner and school board elections, would ensure minorities would win a seat on the council in the absence of partisan voting.
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