sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Sunday, July 09, 2006

....Beaufort County in spotlight of Voting Rights Act debate, says the N&O:

"...A provision known as Section 5 expires in 2007. Its extension faces opposition from some Southern Republicans in the House of Representatives.

"Section 5 requires some Southern jurisdictions -- including 40 counties in North Carolina -- to get special approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before making any election changes. Those include everything from moving polling places to redrawing lines for school board or congressional districts. The requirement results in reams of paperwork that some officials say is burdensome and others see as necessary to ensure minority representation.

"The act helps determine how elections are conducted, whether districts are drawn to favor minority candidates, and where voters will cast their ballots......

"Beaufort County exemplifies the effects of the law and the continuing questions about minority voting rights. Of 66 local elected officials in the county, 11 are black (17 percent of the total). Blacks account for about 28 percent of the county population, according to a 2005 Census Bureau estimate."

My gut reaction is releasing the electoral system from the stranglehold of the federal bureaucracy will not restrict voter accessibilty but will improve it. Opinion Journal makes the same case in reaction to race-baiting in the N. Y. 11th District:

"Ironically, such rhetoric is one reason so few minorities are able to seek and win higher office. Once you're appealing to people on completely racial grounds in order to win a House seat, you have a hard time making the broader appeals necessary to win statewide.

"But don't expect any of this to matter as Congress ramrods through another extension of the provisions that feed these bad outcomes. A House vote is due any day, and the Senate is expected to follow sometime prior to the July 4 recess. Congress has never let balkanization of the electorate get in the way of protecting its own political hide, especially when it can claim to be siding with the 'voting rights' angels. "


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