(CN) – Democratic officials in Noxubee County, Miss., wrongfully diluted the voting strength of the white minority in that county, the 5th Circuit ruled. The court upheld a ruling for the U.S. government on its claim that the county’s Democratic Executive Committee, led by Ike Brown, improperly counted absentee ballots from black voters and assisted black voters.
The government presented evidence in district court that the committee recruited black voters to cast absentee ballots, even when they did not qualify as absentees.
“More troubling, two voters indicated that (the recruiter) selected candidates for the voters and marked their ballots for them,” noted Judge King of the New Orleans-based federal appeals court.
Black voters were also helped at the polls, when they didn’t even request assistance. Poll workers are only supposed to help blind, disabled, and illiterate workers on request.
King upheld the district court decision, and noted that the defendants had urged the circuit court to “stay its hand” because they were pursuing “what they view as the honorable goal of electing black candidates.”
“To champion the cause of black candidates by abusing the supervisory authority over elections,” King wrote, “in order to undermine the value of white voters’ ballots breaches the boundary between acceptable political activity and unacceptable electoral abuse.”