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Federal Appeals Court Denies Mississippi’s Attempt To Implement Anti-Democratic And Racist Voting Reforms

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We have learned many things about the Republican party since Donald Trump essentially became their leader back in 2016, and perhaps the most obvious – and terrifying – aspect of that is how little they care about democracy. Donald Trump did not win the popular vote in the presidential election of that year – he lost, in fact, to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton – yet he is still President of the United States and leader of the free world. We can be pretty confident that if the result had been the other way around, he would not have gone away quietly. On an even more horrifying level, the midterm elections of November of last year saw countless allegations of ballot stuffing, vote rigging and election fraud from across the country by Republicans. Of course, the Democrats still managed to take back control of the House of Representatives thanks to the Blue Wave that swept across the United States, but this just goes to show what the GOP is willing to do to get its way.

However, a heroic judge by the name of Carlton Reeves has just thrown a spanner into the works by compelling the Mississippi branch of the Republican party to actually comply with democracy fully, and it is fair to say that they are fuming about it:

A federal appeals court has given state lawmakers four weeks to redraw a state Senate district after a lower court determined the district violates the federal Voting Rights Act. Gov. Phil Bryant and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann had asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to stay last month’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves until the Fifth Circuit heard their appeal. The appeals court instead ordered the Mississippi Legislature to redraw the map by April 3. But the Fifth Circuit denied the request for a stay, writing that a majority of the three-judge panel had “concluded that there is not a strong likelihood that Defendants will succeed in overturning the liability finding on appeal.”

In February, Reeves had determined that Senate District 22 as drawn diluted the power of the black vote in that area of the state, writing that the district “does not afford the plaintiffs ‘an equal opportunity to participate in the political processes and to elect candidates of their choice.’” The Fifth Circuit also extended the filing deadline for candidates vying for a senate seat in 2019 in those districts to April 12.

What I find most shocking about this story is the racist dimension to it. But it is very encouraging to know that our legal system is strong enough to stand up to this kind of thing.


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