October 31, 2010
The Demise of One Man, One VoteBy Peter Raymond
In yet another scheme to radically transform our country, progressives have quietly carried out their plan to incrementally disenfranchise citizens and grant extraordinary voting rights to non-citizens. This is accomplished by challenging requirements to prove citizenship when registering to vote and replacing the "one man, one vote" principle with proportional voting, a voting method promoted by the far-left Congressional Progressive Caucus as one of their progressive promises to America.
A review of a recent lawsuit filed against the small Village of Port Chester in New York illustrates how the left's strategy to undermine the most fundamental tenet of a representative democracy, the right of citizens to freely elect individuals that represent the interests of the whole community, has been so devastatingly effective.
Nearly four years ago, a complaint was filed by the DOJ alleging that the Village of Port Chester's at-large elections were discriminatory because no Hispanic candidates had been elected to the board of trustees. The Justice Department asserted that Hispanics had "less opportunity than white citizens to participate in the political process," which is in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
DOJ instructed the village to end their 139-year-old at-large election system, common in small towns throughout New York, and to divide the tiny 2.1-square-mile village into six districts, with several specifically configured to have a majority of Hispanics so they may "elect candidates of their choice."
The implication of racism within the white voting bloc and the notion of racially segregating voting districts are certainly appalling, but what is even more problematic is the large number of non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, who make up the Hispanic population in Port Chester. With no effort to differentiate citizens from non-citizens, even a small minority of legal Hispanic voters could potentially gain enormous voting leverage over all other citizens in a racially segregated district -- an outcome social justice zealots would undoubtedly endorse.
United States District Judge Stephen C. Robinson was so convinced by DOJ arguments that he ordered the immediate cancellation of the upcoming election and also suggested a "six-district plan could be drawn for Port Chester in which Hispanics would constitute a majority of the citizen voting age population in at least one district." It is important to note that the judge carefully skirts the issue of verifying citizenship and references age only as a prerequisite for establishing a Hispanic majority. This nuance guarantees that the fabricated "majority" would be composed of a mixture of citizens and non-citizens.
Robinson reasoned that Hispanics were not "politically astute citizens" and that they "suffered from the lingering effects of discrimination that negatively affected their ability to participate in the political process." It is sad that the judge's recommended remedy for alleged discrimination is to legally sanction more discrimination.
The remedy village officials proposed instead is called cumulative voting, a version of proportional voting. The egregious racial districting plan was scrapped.
Here is how it works: "Each voter is given multiple votes, depending on the number of positions that are open. The voter may cast all of his or her votes for a single candidate, or may allocate votes among candidates. In the case of Port Chester, all six Trustee positions will be up for election. Therefore, each voter in Port Chester will have six votes to allocate among Trustee candidates; they may cast all six votes for one Trustee candidate, or split their six votes among the candidates they prefer."
Robinson ruled that this method was equitable because "cumulative voting offers a genuine opportunity for Hispanics in Port Chester to elect their preferred representative." Apparently, non-Hispanic groups are just out of luck as far as this judge is concerned.
The village's mayor issued a press release that outlined his emphatic support of cumulative voting and praised it as "an improvement over 'winner take all'" elections by giving individuals "the power to cast more than one vote for the same candidate." Besides, cumulative voting is "currently is used in more than sixty American localities, including Peoria (IL) and Amarillo (TX)."
Well, the mayor is technically correct that many communities use cumulative voting; however, all were the result of cases brought under the Voting Rights Act. Each town or community was literally forced to adopt this system because "one man, one vote" was determined to be discriminatory by the DOJ and the federal courts.
Even religious leaders now support some very radical changes to the electorate system including proportional voting.
In Lift Every Voice: Democracy, Voting, and Electoral Reform, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church includes in its list of concerns to address "the structural limits on the principle of 'one person, one vote'" and the "constraints that continue to be imposed on African Americans, other persons of color, and poorer and working class citizens of all races such as purged voter rolls."
Not only does the General Assembly endorse restoring voting rights to convicted felons, but they also favor an avenue for granting voting rights to non-citizens. "To ensure equality and fairness," the church leaders "disapprove the imposition of special identification (ID) requirements that do not provide for opportunities and means by which all persons may meet the requirements without placing a disproportionate and undue burden upon any group(s) of persons."
The idea of giving non-citizens access to the voting booth is certainly gaining ground in the courts. On October 26, the infamous U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Arizona's law requiring individuals show proof of citizenship to register to vote violated the National Voter Registration Act.
Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund said the Ninth Court's ruling was "a warning to anyone who seeks to deter or prevent voter participation." According to these folks, if you live in this country, legally or not, then you have the right to vote.