And screwing around with it, whether by voter intimidation(See also: here, here, and here), ballot box stuffing, or tampering with the results is, at absolute best, reprehensible.
It seems that a group known as the New Black Panthers engaged in conduct at a polling place in Philadelphia that experienced voting rights attorney and proponent Bartle Bull called "the most blatant form of voter intimidation I have encountered in my life in many states, even going back to the work I did in Mississippi in the 1960s."
Just what were these New Black Panthers doing?
They weren't presenting bouquets. The four men representing the organization, as described in the letter cited above, were caught on video tape blocking access to the polling place (per the U.S. Civil Rights Commission), physically threatening voters (per the U.S. Civil Rights Commission), and verbally harassing voters (again, per the U.S. Civil Rights commission). It is alleged that the verbiage was heavily laden with distinctly negative racial commentary. The men in question were in paramilitary uniform, at least one of them brandishing a club, and said uniforms were badged with New Black Panther insignia.
This would seem a fairly clear-cut case of criminal violation of the Voting Rights Act, and substantial infringement of the civil rights of persons attempting to vote at that station.
Yet, nobody is in jail or facing great thumping civil judgements...and the New Black Panthers are not facing RICO prosecution.
Suit was, in fact, filed in the days after the election by the Justice Department to address these matters.
However, Attorney General Eric Holder or his representatives (who we must assume are acting with his guidance and instructions) in May of 2009 chose to effectively dismiss the matter.
Over the weekend, we've been hearing of a former Justice Department attorney from the Civil Rights Division J. Christian Adams...who resigned rather than go along with the gag when Congress started asking questions and the Department under Holders leadership (according to Adams) felt deceit was the proper approach to take under oath.
Read here. And bear it in mind, come November.