Federal Judge Delays Noxubee Runoffs

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

A referee-administrator will oversee the September 18 Democratic runoffs for sheriff, chancery clerk and supervisor in Noxubee County, Miss., after a federal judge banned the local party leader for discriminating against white voters.

The removal of Ike Brown as chairman of the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee came Monday in an order issued by U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee.

Lee's order satisfied his June 29 opinion that black political leaders in Noxubee County violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by discriminating against white voters.

The U.S. Department of Justice brought the federal lawsuit, the first of its kind in the country, accusing black political leaders of discriminating against white voters in the majority black county.

Lee appointed former state Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, the first black to serve on the court, as superintendent of elections for all Democratic primaries and runoffs through November 20, 2011.

Both the Justice Department and attorneys for Brown and the county Democratic Executive Committee had earlier agreed on Anderson's appointment.

Anderson will assume all electoral duties of the chairman of the executive committee and its members.

Lee said Brown cannot be present in the circuit clerk's office two weeks before any primary election except for matters pertaining solely to him or his immediate family.

Brown also was ordered not to be present in polling places unless he is voting, has been appointed as a poll watcher for a candidate, or Anderson has appointed.


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