Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Eric Holder Evokes 'Mississippi Burning' Case to Denounce 20% Reduction in Early Voting Days

    In a video message Monday on the website of the Justice Department, Eric Holder once again broached the subject about which he famously declared Americans cowardly: race. The occasion for his message, however, has nothing overtly to do with race, but rather the recent Supreme Court decision allowing Ohio's plan to scale back early voting to take effect. A U.S. district judge initially threw out the plan, ruling that the reduction of early voting days would disproportionately affect minorities.
    The fact that the plan scales back early voting days only 20%, from 35 days to 28 days, did not stop Holder from raising the specter of the Ku Klux Klan murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi half a century ago in what became known as the Mississippi Burning case. Holder also referred to the Klan murder of Viola Liuzzo, a woman from Detroit killed in 1965 during civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama. Here are some screenshots from Holder's message:

    The attorney general has managed to equate a 20% reduction in early voting days with "turn[ing] our back" on Ku Klux Klan victims. If some Americans really are cowards when it comes to race, could it be fear of being branded a Klan sympathizer by the top law enforcement official in the country for simply favoring tighter controls on voting? Once a legislature has expanded the single day of voting that existed for most of the nation's history to multiple weeks of voting, is any subsequent reduction de facto racism? Would perpetually open polls be nirvana?
    When Eric Holder addresses race in his position as attorney general, he often pays lip service to "how far we've come" as a nation on race. But he keeps a full deck of race cards tucked in his back pocket just waiting to play trump on any argument.

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