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Judge rejects LaRoque's challenge to voting law

Posted December 23, 2011

A federal judge has upheld a section of the U.S. Voting Rights Act that Rep. Stephen LaRoque and some Kinston voters had challenged.

Kinston officials voted to switch the city’s elections from partisan to non-partisan, but the U.S. Justice Department refused to allow that change, saying it would adversely affect the rights of black voters. The Kinston City Council refused to challenge the Justice Department’s decision, so LaRoque, R-Lenoir, and others took up the banner.

They argued that Congress exceeded its authority in re-authorizing a section of the act five years ago and that amendments to the section violated constitutional guarantees of non-discrimination.

U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington, D.C., ruled Thursday that the section of the Voting Rights Act in question is valid.

Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, called the ruling "a stand for justice and equality."

"Voting rights are under attack across the country," Barber said in a statement. "Fourteen states have already passed voter suppression laws that limit access to the polls and disproportionately impact minorities, poor people, young people, students and the elderly. Minority voting power is under attack through redistricting plans that marginalize minority voters, packing them into a few segregated districts so their influence is muted."

LaRoque said he plans to appeal the ruling.

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  • claytontarheel Dec 26, 11:33 a.m.

    "Kinston officials voted to switch the city’s elections from partisan to non-partisan"

    WRONG and poor reporting. City officials didn't vote to make the change, Kinston voters OVERWHELMINGLY voted for the change including 7 of 9 predominately black precincts. Kinston is one of only a few municipalities in NC (3, I think) that actually conducts partisan elections for local officials. I guess every other municipality in NC has it wrong and Kinston is just ahead of the pack.

    LaRoque is doing what the people of Kinston expect which is work on their behalf for their interests. Barber has never done anything to promote black people. He only promotes himself by promoting ignorance.

  • meruncc13 Dec 23, 9:15 p.m.

    He remindes me of a certain Mecklenburg County commissioner who will not be named...

  • jason19 Dec 23, 7:08 p.m.

    Haha. I wish LaRogue would just go to another state or possibly another country. He hates everything we hold dear about the United States. Why do you people around Kinston keep voting this joke into power?