Here’s the start of an amazing story:
The Justice Department has chosen this no-stoplight, courthouse town buried in the eastern Mississippi prairie for an unusual civil rights test: the first federal lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act accusing blacks of suppressing the rights of whites.
The action represents a sharp shift, and it has raised eyebrows outside the state. The government is charging blacks with voting fraud in a state whose violent rejection of blacks’ right to vote, over generations, helped give birth to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Yet within Mississippi the case has provoked knowing nods rather than cries of outrage, even among liberal Democrats.
The Justice Department’s main focus is Ike Brown, a local power broker whose imaginative electoral tactics have for 20 years caused whisperings from here to the state capital in Jackson, 100 miles to the southwest. Mr. Brown, tall, thin, a twice-convicted felon, the chairman of the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee and its undisputed political boss, is accused by the federal government of orchestrating — with the help of others — “relentless voting-related racial discrimination” against whites, whom blacks outnumber by more than 3 to 1 in the county.
His goal, according to the government: keeping black politicians — ones supported by Mr. Brown, that is — in office.
To do that, the department says, he and his allies devised a watertight system for controlling the all-determining Democratic primary, much as segregationists did decades ago.
Mr. Brown is accused in the lawsuit and in supporting documents of paying and organizing notaries, some of whom illegally marked absentee ballots or influenced how the ballots were voted; of publishing a list of voters, all white, accompanied by a warning that they would be challenged at the polls; of importing black voters into the county; and of altering racial percentages in districts by manipulating the registration rolls.
Read the rest here. I bow to the fact that this is just one exceptionally corrupt county and that one cannot extrapolate to larger Democratic politics. However, I do find it a cute little historical joke that, in the South, it is again the Democrats who obstruct access to the polls!