Emergency Manager Law, Public Act 4 — December 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Does Justice Dept’s ruling on SC voter ID law bode well for repeal of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law?


This could signal an important foreshadowing of the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law and its disparate impact on African Americans.

The U.S. Department of Justice will block the voter ID provisions of an election law passed in South Carolina earlier this year because the state’s own statistics demonstrated that the photo identification requirement would have a much greater impact on non-white residents, DOJ said in a letter to the state on Friday.

The decision places the federal government squarely in opposition to the types of voter ID requirements that have swept through mostly Republican-controlled state legislatures.

Officials in DOJ’s Civil Rights Division found a significant racial disparity in the data provided by South Carolina, which must have changes to its election laws precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, because of past history of discrimination. The data demonstrated that registered non-white voters were 20 percent more likely than white voters to lack the specific type of photo identification required to exercise their constitutional rights, according to a letter sent to South Carolina and obtained by TPM.

As I have written about several times, if Inkster and Detroit get Emergency Managers as seems increasingly likely, over half the American Americans in Michigan will be under the control of an Emergency Manager and without democratically-elected local representation. In fact, they will completely disenfranchised at the local level.

City Population % African American # of African Americans
Benton Harbor 10,038 89.2% 8,954
Detroit 713,777 82.7% 590,294
Ecorse 9,512 46.4% 4,414
Flint 102,434 56.6% 57,978
Inkster 25,369 73.2% 18,570
Pontiac 59,515 52.1% 31,007
Total &nbsp &nbsp 711,217

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

If Holder’s Justice Department is willing to rule against South Carolina’s voter ID law on the basis that it violates the Voting Rights Act, it would seem not a big step to do the same in Michigan with regards to Public Act 4.

I am hopeful.