For Republicans, Noxubee County Democratic boss Ike Brown is "the gift that keeps on giving." Those were the words Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Brad White told the Macon Beacon as it continues to document the shenanigans by Brown to control county politics and violate minority voter rights. In Noxubee County, white voters are the minority. The Republican Party continues to use Ike Brown as the poster for Democratic partisan loyalty and voter corruption.

You'll remember Ike Brown. A three judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled his election antics were "improper, and in some instances fraudulent conduct, and committed blatant violations of state election laws for the purpose of diluting white voting strength." The ruling described his actions as "discriminatory" and "primarily motivated by race" and said his "electoral abuse" violated both state election and Democratic Party rules. It was the first time the Voting Rights Act had been used to protect a white minority.

The Court cited testimony that Brown protected questionable ballots that favored his political interests while putting stick-it notes on ballots of those individuals he wanted tossed out and not counted. Brown published a list in the newspaper of 174 white Democratic voters he announced he would challenge at the polls and ran an advertisement to "Vote Black."

The Court concluded Brown and his fellow defendants engaged in a "pattern of episodic behavior intended to deny white voters equal participation in the political process." Brown told one federal observer, "I don't care what the court says. I am still primarily responsible for running this election."

And he meant it. In May he submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Justice to ban "die-hard" Republicans from choosing to vote in the Democratic Primary. The description of those voters would be those who voted in the 2008 Republican Presidential Primary or other GOP primary since; had ever served on the Noxubee County Republican Executive Committee; or had run for office as a Republican. Instead of targeting white voters; now he is targeting Republican voters. Mississippi does not have party registration so any voter can vote in either primary. Brown sought to stop that practice.

In their response, the Department of Justice reminded Brown the federal court has banned him from "electoral duties" until 2012 and he is not the proper person to submit the proposal. It did not make a determination on the merits. J. Christian Adams called this "no determination" letter a "cop-out, because Brown will be running elections with this scheme as a party rule once he resumes control."

Adams recently resigned as an election lawyer in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. He has spoken out against the DOJ's failure to apply the Voting Rights Act in a race neutral manner. His testimony regarding the case of Black Panthers intimidating white voters in Pennsylvania made national headlines. He was one of three prosecutors in the case against Ike Brown in Noxubee County.

Adams recently wrote, "there is an open and pervasive hostility within the DOJ towards using the voting laws to protect all races. Instead, the laws are viewed by many in the DOJ...only as tools to protect national racial minorities and increase their voter turnout." He said the DOJ failed to follow standard Section 5 practices in regards to Brown's request and said the letter leaves "victims without any protection." Adams said the DOJ could have filed an objection to the request that solved this problem at the cost of only a postage stamp.

Now Ike Brown has raised his head in Madison County. His nephew Rodriquez Brown won an election for alderman in Canton and his defeated opponent in the Democratic Primary believes the election was plagued with fraud. Apparently, so does the grand jury. Three indictments for voter fraud were announced in July in what the Madison District Attorney's Office described as just the "first wave" - more will be presented to the grand jury in coming months.

While the charges are connected to the Canton municipal election; no particular candidate or campaign has been named; and there has been no public accusation by Madison prosecutors against Ike Brown.

Voter fraud is not like a speeding ticket. On a philosophical level, it is a corruption of the democratic process: stealing the votes of others. On a practical level, these particular charges in Canton can result in a five-thousand dollar fine and five years in prison per count. One has to wonder whether those facing years in prison will cooperate with prosecutors causing dominoes to fall.

It may turn out that the investigations in Madison County have nothing to do with Ike Brown. But for Republicans who point to him as an example of what's wrong with Mississippi elections and politics, his actions in Noxubee County alone are enough.

Brian Perry is a partner in a public affairs firm. Reach him at bp@brianperry.ms.