In a Pajamas Media blog post, New Black Panthers fabulist J. Christian Adams reports on a request from the town of Southbridge, Massachusetts to the Justice Department to monitor upcoming elections. Adams thinks that he's really trapped the Obama DOJ in a way that proves his central theory that the Obama DOJ is willing to protect minorities from voter discrimination but not willing to protect white people.
Unfortunately for him, he's entirely wrong about why the town is requesting monitors. His trap unravels quickly after that.
Adams claims that the town is requesting monitors because of a recently posted billboard in the town which recommends people voluntarily show identification at the polls. Adams responds:
So what is more intimidating: black panthers with billy clubs, or billboards urging citizens to voluntarily show photo identification? I'd lay odds that right now inside the Voting Section, you'd find more votes for the billboard. The two photos, the lady on the billboard vs. the black panthers, serve as a DOJ Rorschach test. Hold both up, and watch what happens in the next few weeks.
Adams is correct that Latino advocates have said that the billboard is “meant to intimidate Latino voters.” But that's not why Southbridge asked for DOJ monitors. As you can read by clicking on one of the links that Adams helpfully includes in his post, the town contacted DOJ in response to Tuesday's election. During that election, according to the town clerk and a local judge, Latino voters were allegedly targeted for intimidation by tea party groups.
From the April 14 Worcester Telegram & Gazette article:
Town Clerk Madaline I. Daoust said yesterday she witnessed “unnecessary challenges” geared toward mentally challenged people and Hispanics.
The clerk said she was surprised by the level of observers from campaigns and the back-and-forth challenging from the groups. She said she wanted voters to know it wasn't the town being a hindrance.
“Some people left saying, 'I'll never vote again,' ” she said. “We're not here to turn people away.”
On Tuesday night, retired Worcester Juvenile Court Judge Luis G. Perez told a reporter he saw “tea party folks intimidating voters, challenging mental health issues and linguistic issues,” and especially Latinos. The judge, who served as a poll observer for Mr. Alicea, said he also saw people leaving the polls crying.
The Telegram also spoke to a leader of one of the groups, who said that the accusers were “full of it” but did not deny that baseless challenges were made, and promised that the groups “would be back next month in force.”
It is impossible to tell from the available facts whether voter intimidation occurred. But for Adams to ignore credible accusations in favor of bloviating about the billboard speaks volumes about what he's trying to do: tear down the Obama DOJ and prove his race-neutral justice by any means necessary regardless of the facts. Perhaps he'd take the accusations more seriously if a Republican consultant agreed to help track down some intimidated voters.