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Proponents, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., said the law is still necessary to ensure equal voting rights for all Americans.

In Kinston, William Barker is the only City Council member who voted to continue discussing whether to challenge the Justice Department’s ruling.

He said he voted against eliminating partisan elections because the proposed new system would declare a winner simply on who received a plurality of votes instead requiring candidates to reach certain threshold of votes based on turnout.

“Based on the fact that the voters voted overwhelmingly for it, I would like to see us challenge it based on that fact. My fight is solely based on fighting what the voters voted on,” he said. “It bothers me, even though I’m on the winning side now, that you have a small group, an outside group coming in and saying, ‘Your vote doesn’t matter.’ ”