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.
Kinston is under the jurisdiction of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and as such, any changes to their voting laws must be approved by the Justice Department. Nevertheless, how does one begin to justify the reasoning that blacks won’t be able to vote for their candidate of choice unless they know whether or not they are a Democrat?
And how can the Justice Department make a ruling that is so blatantly partisan?
What this reveals, plain and simple, is the soft bigotry of low expectations for the blacks of this town held by Holder’s Justice Department. You can bet your bottom dollar that is what you would hear, and rightly so, if the Bush administration had ruled in a similar fashion.