When the Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 1965, it was considered a cornerstone bill for civil rights. After all, what wasn’t to like?  Minorities would now be equally represented in government, they could vote without having to pay a ridiculous poll tax or take a literacy test, and institutional racism was essentially ended.  At least that was what I originally thought, until I saw how the Department of Justice has interpreted the VRA in a recent case, in which the election procedures of Kingston, North Carolina were declared unconstitutional.

Since Kingston is a community covered under Section 5 of the VRA – which mandates that areas with a history of voter discrimination must pre-clear any changes in election laws with the Justice Department – the measure was brought forth as a discriminatory case before the Department of Justice by the ACLU, in defense of blacks and minorities.  The judge ruled that holding non-partisan local elections was unconstitutional because it would “likely reduce the ability of blacks to elect candidates of choice.”

Just try to wrap your head around that for a second.  This measure is incredibly insulting to the intelligence of the minority voter.  According to the court, it is critical for minorities to know what party their candidate belongs to; otherwise, they can’t vote without fear of voting for the wrong person.  The VRA ensures that minorities vote for the party that they are told to vote for.  That may not have been VRA’s original intentions, but it’s implementation today perpetuates that notion wholly.

The VRA has outlived its usefulness. The original purpose for the legislation was to ensure that a majority of adults in Section 5 areas were registered to vote, which was not originally the case throughout the Deep South. Now, with many of the areas above the 50% threshold, this legislation is no longer necessary; however, it is kept around so civil rights groups can sue governments for ambiguous reasons, such as not listing political party affiliations on the ballot.

According to this interpretation of the VRA, it is now discriminatory to take partisanship out of politics.

Is it really so difficult for an educated voter, regardless of skin color, to do a little bit of research on the candidates so they can vote with their own brain and convictions?  This incident harkens back to the old Tammany Hall machine of the 1800’s, when politicians would exchange favors for immigrants’ votes, which serves as the crowning example of cronyism in American politics.

The attitude of the courts is nothing short of an unspoken opinion that minorities cannot make decisions on their own and need to be told who to vote for, and are unable to determine which candidate truly fits their needs.

This decision hopes to revive those days, and prevent people from voting with their brains and hearts rather than just voting for the Democrat or Republican. It perpetuates the political ignorance that allows corrupt politicians and interest groups to fleece the American public out of their hard-earned incomes and grow the size of Washington at the expense of states’ rights and states’ sovereignty.

John McKenna // Fordham University // @bosconservative