38 thoughts on “Political Geography Blog Assignment #5 – 2016

  1. According to the Constitutional Rights Foundation, “Jim Crow” was a “derisive slang term used to describe a black man”. However, in the 1890’s, several “Jim Crow” Laws were passed and gave a whole new meaning to the term. During this time period, the white communities were afraid they were going to lose their jobs to members of the black community. In order to be reelected, politicians in office began to appeal to the white majority by passing “Jim Crow” segregation laws. These laws separated the black and white communities in every aspect of life. At the polls, legislation was passed that was clearly designed to deny blacks the right to vote. All of these policies have been repealed, however, recently there have been some changes in regards to voting restrictions at the polls that some believe targets the black community. Although it is important to scrutinize any law that limits voters, these restrictions are completely different from past restrictions in terms of what restrictions are in place, and who is and is not allowed to vote.
    According to Ferris State University, during the Jim Crow era a series of clauses were put in place that were aimed at restricting black voters. One of these causes included restrictions that only allowed a person to vote if their ancestors were able to vote before the civil war. Other restrictions included poll taxes, allowing only democrats to vote and only allowing whites to be democrats, and separate literacy tests for blacks and whites. In more recent years, states have begun pushing legislation that requires a government issued photo ID in order to vote. According to ProPublica, people who oppose these laws believe they target elderly, minority and low-income groups that tend to lean Democrat. Support for this opposition is founded in the belief that obtaining a photo ID can be costly and burdensome, especially for lower income groups. While many states with voter ID laws offer a free state ID for people without any other way to vote, these IDs require documents like a birth certificates that can cost up to $25 to obtain. Although many lower income groups may have trouble obtaining an ID, these two sets of restrictions are completely separate and are not specifically targeting the black community to limit their voting rights.
    When the Jim Crow laws were established, it was evident that they were targeting the black public in an attempt to prevent this group from voting. These new voter ID laws, however, are targeting entirely separate groups, illegal citizens and fraudulent voters. Earlier Jim Crow laws allowed for little to no chance for the black community to obtain the right to vote. These new laws, however, only hinder those individuals that are unable to obtain an ID because they are illegal citizens, regardless of color, age, or physical capabilities. These new voter laws are clearly and specific designed to reduce the number of illegal immigrants and fraudulent voters that have found a way to vote in past elections, not the black community. Although, according to ProPublica, there have been very few cases over the past years involving fraudulent voting, those few cases were the ones that were reported, not the ones that occurred. These new laws only affect about 11 percent of the population, many of whom should have the opportunity to obtain an identification unless they are a recent immigrant.
    While it is good to question any law that limits public opinion, it is important to not let opinions cloud judgement. It is clear, Jim Crow laws were strategically designed to limit the black community and their voice in government. These new laws have different restrictions that target other groups that are not legally allowed to vote, not the black community since many of them have the ability to legally fulfill the requirements.
    Sources:
    http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/what.htm
    https://www.propublica.org/article/everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-know-about-voter-id-laws

  2. Jim Crow laws began as the deliberate attempt of white authority figures in the Southern US to prevent African Americans from voting. In 1877, after having ostensibly won the right to vote in 1870, laws began to be changed to stop the voices of black voters from being heard. Some African Americans had already been voted into office and many more, having recently been freed from slavery, were interested in becoming educated and participating in the process of democracy.

    Unfortunately, democracy was not what Southern whites wanted. There were many methods used to prevent black votes. Often intimidation and threats at the voting booth, or in the community at large, was enough. But if that wasn’t sufficient, some states instituted literacy tests and /or poll taxes. Poll taxes made it impossible for many poor people to consider placing a vote if they could barely feed their families in the hostile and discriminatory environment of the South where many blacks remained even after the Civil War because of family ties or even financial inability to move elsewhere. The poll taxes prevented poor white voters from voting as well, which was fine with the legislators who created these taxes.

    Literacy tests were almost exclusively given to black people with the sole intention of turning them away. The questions were on obscure historic, scientific and mathematical minutiae that college students of today could not answer. They were blatantly absurd and no doubt could not have been passed by the people who administered them.

    These tactics worked. The black citizens of the South were accustomed to threats and often actual deadly violence and despite anger and frustration, few attempted to register. Astonishingly, this situation persisted for nearly a century. According to the Washington Post, as late as 1922 some KKK members flew a plane over black neighborhoods in Oklahoma City and dropped cards warning people not to vote. The ACLU reports that as late as 1940 only 3% of eligible black voters in the US had registered to vote.

    While there has been a brief period in recent decades where many of us believed our country to have become more fair, the truth is not so clean cut. After the 1950s-60’s Civil Rights Movement, black people felt a stronger sense of agency and many felt a desire to participate in the workings of government. However many were still disgusted and untrusting of local as well as national elections in which they were not represented. Nonetheless, black voter registration surged because of an enthusiastic effort by young people of all races to enfranchise previously oppressed people. Registration levels in 1964 reached as high as 58.5% of the population of 20.7 million eligible as stated in Census data of the time.

    Yet discrimination and bigotry and racism has continued. And in the 2016 elections we witnessed a massive and ugly rebound of tacit and veiled Jim Crow laws. These tactics are today aimed at not just African Americans, but Hispanics, Latinos, Muslims and other minorities. In a study by Diane Wong and Nicole Fink in Asian American Policy Review23 (2012/2013) these restrictive maneuvers were in place as early as 2012 (and to be honest, were probably never not in place somewhere around the country.) They include “mandatory photo identification procedures, massive voter purges, shortened early voting periods, and proof of citizenship mandates.”

    Voter “caging” is another tactic. It involves sending mass mailings to legitimately registered voters which cannot be forwarded. The cards or envelopes which are not returned as requested create the “caging lists” from which the mailers challenge the vote of the person on the basis of them supposedly not really living at that address.

    In previous Presidential elections other forms of mass mailings were sent to voters unscrupulously claiming date changes for elections or changes of voting sites or any other outright lies they felt they could get people to believe with official-enough looking seals and letterhead. Today that same ruse of misdirection is conducted by social media. Many Hillary Clinton voters were told that they could vote by email and did not have to show up to a polling place. Invariably, there are people of all races, ages and genders who fall for these schemes. In the 2010 Bob Ehrlich, former Governor of Maryland (R) was convicted of ordering robocalls to black voters telling them the Democratic candidate had already won so it wasn’t necessary to get out to vote, according to Adam Serwer of MotherJones.com.

    Other measures include cutting back on the availability of early voting, restricting third party voter registration drives with nit-picking or even illegal rules, or purging votes that are legitimate for similar fraudulent reasons. Many Republican led states are attempting to again (or still) implement forms of voter ID laws under the pretense that there is some kind of massive voter fraud which happens at the polls, when in fact this has been repeatedly disproven.

    And finally, intimidation continues to deprive some voters of their Constitutional right to vote. Many places set up thugs disguised as “poll watchers” specifically to scare away people who, while still possessing a right to vote, may have personal concerns like delinquent child support or traffic fines or other sketchy personal reasons for feeling uncomfortable around prying “authorities.”

    In all, we have a long way to go before we have a truly representative popular vote. Mostly because there are many people who still don’t want to see that happen.

  3. Voter suppression in the Jim Crow era took a number of different legal forms. In the case of the Grandfather Clause, the mechanism for voter suppression was rooted in descent: the clause stated that anyone descended from persons voting before 1867 could vote. Pre-1867, however, reflected a period during which voting was limited to white males, effectively disenfranchising minority populations. The poll tax requirements were equally rigid. These obliged potential voters to pay a state-defined tax amount before being registered to vote, thereby disenfranchising poor voters.

    However, other Jim Crow era means of voter suppression were less predefined and, because of this, more insidious. Literacy tests, for instance, varied by state but their implementation was also variable, decided by a given voter registration official for each voter. Literacy tests, then, might be required in full for one voter, partially for another, and preferentially waived for yet a third; they might require a perfect score to pass, or require completion within a certain time period. This effectively allowed for individualized discrimination and voter suppression.

    Active interference, then, coupled with legal restrictions in the Jim Crow era to ensure voter suppression, and impedance was not restricted to polling places; actually getting to a polling place at all, let alone unharmed, created problems for persecuted potential voters. According to the American Civil Liberties Union “the intimidation and suppression campaign was so successful that only 3 percent of voting-age-African-American southerners were registered to vote in 1940” (Roos).

    Instances of voter intimidation have continued to bubble up in the intervening years, some individual but others institutional, such as the RNC’s bizarre National Ballot Security Task Force of the 1980s which was “staffed by off-duty police officers armed with loaded service revolvers” and sought “to patrol polling stations in search of voter fraud” (Roos). Though ostensibly disinterested in suppressing non-fraudulent voters, the group was ultimately “sued for steering black voters away from polling stations in New Jersey” (Roos).

    Voter suppression persists today in other forms as well. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, current suppression takes the shape of “cuts to early voting, voter ID laws, and purges of voter rolls” (ACLU, “Fighting”). Voter ID laws—again argued as aiding in the prevention of voter fraud—exist in over 30 states with differing requirements and levels of strictness. 17 states ask voters to present a photo ID, 7 of these—Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi—with strict enforcement.

    The issue with voter ID laws, particularly those that require a government-issued photo ID, is that obtaining such an ID can be problematic for those with limited time, money, or transportation. As of now “more than 21 million Americans do not have government-issued photo identification” with a large portion of this number comprised by “low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and elderly” (ACLU, “Oppose”).

    The variability in state laws is a source of confusion on its own as well, with over 1/5 of voters in ID-requiring states being unaware of the requirement (Pew). Meanwhile, nearly 2/5 of voters in non-requiring states “incorrectly believe that they will be required to show identification prior to voting” and this misconception is more common among minority groups (Pew). Even where there are no voter ID laws, then, uncertainty about requirements has the potential to act as a deterrent for voters.

    Roos, Dave. “How Voter Suppression Works.” http://people.howstuffworks.com/voter-suppression1.htm
    ACLU. “Fighting Voter Suppression.” https://www.aclu.org/issues/voting-rights/fighting-voter-suppression?redirect=voter-suppression-america
    ACLU. “Oppose Voter ID Legislation – Fact Sheet.” https://www.aclu.org/other/oppose-voter-id-legislation-fact-sheet
    Pew Research Center. “Many Americans unaware of their states’ voter ID laws.” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/24/many-americans-unaware-of-their-states-voter-id-laws/

  4. Being a democracy, and having a such a rich history of democracy, is something that I’m sure many Americans are proud to represent. But to be proud of your history you must also acknowledge your faults, and the issues surrounding the political franchise in America have been numerous and troubled. Of notable concern is the scene created by the above images, past iterations of various voter suppression tactics, some blatant, some less so, all morally reprehensible.

    It would be very appropriate to say that behind slavery, the period of Jim Crow laws was the most damaging, long lasting example of civil rights violations against minorities in the history of the US. Now while much of Jim Crow has to do with segregation, the period also ensured that blacks would be hard pressed in exercising their Fifteenth Amendment rights. Beyond creating a political climate that reinforced animosity towards African Americans, all but encouraging violent intervention, there were widespread policies such as poll taxes and literacy tests. These policies could theoretically affect not only poor blacks but also poor whites, the introduction of grandfather clauses by state legislatures ensured that restrictive voting practices would only affect potential black voters.

    With regards to voter ID laws, the inherent racism seems a lot less blatant than similar Jim Crow practices, which makes sense given the fact that it’s our modern, highly visible iteration of voter suppression. I mean, on the surface there doesn’t seem that much wrong with voter ID laws. I’ve even thought to myself that the argument for voter ID is a rational one, in theory. But then you look into it more and it’s so blatantly obstructionist. From the fact that IDs cost money, even though not a lot, to the fact that getting one requires such thorough documentation(requiring money to obtain/retrieve), and further the fact that poor, rural southern locales don’t have the kind of infrastructure to make going to a DMV or other location ID location easy. All of these factors contribute to ID laws enabling the potential disenfranchisement of poor, rural voters, especially those in high density minority areas. And according to the ACLU, this isn’t an insignificant problem. Over 21 million Americans don’t have IDs, and could be disenfranchised by the laws.The weird thing is that despite racist rhetoric history of groups looking to pass voter ID laws, I don’t even think it’s really about race, but about the fact that it’s just another tactic groups can use to suppress opposition voters. It’s racist, but less in a “let’s strip rights from minority voters” way, and more of a consequence that minority voters are overwhelmingly left leaning, if that makes sense. Basically I think it says as much if not more about “othering” based on ideological and political affiliations than it does about race. The problem is either that republicans don’t realize how blatantly these policies affect minorities, or they don’t care, so it’s not exactly a redeeming thought. To be clear I’m not saying it’s not a problem based in part due to racial politics, or that racism doesn’t exist in large, and even organized sections of the US. Finally, and this should really be the first response against voter IDs laws : It’s not a widespread or documented problem. Proponents have thus far failed to show evidence of voter fraud, so such restrictive systems shouldn’t even be considered.

    Sources:
    http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/10/21/239081586/the-racial-history-of-the-grandfather-clause
    Voter ID laws: https://www.aclu.org/other/oppose-voter-id-legislation-fact-sheet

  5. Despite its status as one of the foremost liberal democracies in the world, the United States has a long history of disenfranchisement. At the birth of the country, only white, landowning men could vote. Over time, the franchise has slowly expanded, but not without its setbacks. When the slaves were freed and granted citizenship (and thus the right to vote) as a result of the Civil War, African American men in the South began registering and voting for Republican candidates, and thus diminishing the power of Southern white men at the ballot box. Once Reconstruction ended, a wave of laws requiring literacy tests as a part of voter registration swept the nation, in order to “combat alleged voter fraud and political corruption” – a reasoning quite familiar to those in the early 21st century (Ross 2013, 368). The literacy tests were seen as a technically race-neutral (and therefore constitutional) way to disenfranchise the African American population, which had a significantly higher rate of illiteracy than the white population.

    In the early 20th century, the literacy tests became significantly “more subjective,” like the example from Louisiana, with the pass/fail decision left to the voter registration official (Ross 2013, 372). Due to the high degree of discretion given to local officials, Southern states could officially maintain that the voter registration laws were race neutral, even when the execution of the laws clearly proved otherwise. Furthermore, a primitive form of voter ID law was introduced around the same time in the form of ‘voucher laws’ which required potential voters to have a registered voter or county election official to vouch for their identity at the time of registration. These subjective voter registration requirements were nearly always waived for whites (Ross 2013, 372).

    Much of the popular discussion about today’s voter ID compares them to Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement through their discriminatory outcomes. Little attention, however, is paid to how the significant discretion given to local officials parallels that of the Jim Crow-era. As written, voter ID laws are not racially discriminatory, allowing them to pass the most lenient judicial review. However, the evidence shows that these laws, “as with literacy tests, function in practice so that voters of color often must meet different ID requirements than white voters” (Ross 2013, 391). A 2008 study in Boston found that African American and Hispanic voters were 10% more likely than white voters to be asked for ID, while African American and Hispanic voters with a limited command of English were 20% more likely than white voters to be asked for ID (Ross 2013, 392). A similar survey conducted in New Mexico in 2006 had similar results, with self-identified Latino voters being 16% more likely to be asked for ID at the polling place (Ross 2013, 394). Additional anecdotal evidence from across the country further supports these conclusions.

    As states continue to implement stringent voter ID laws, the public should know that these laws cannot be executed without the cooperation of local election officials. Although state legislators may be the ones drafting and enacting these laws, the discriminatory administration of these laws takes place not in the State Capitol, but in county courthouses and local polling places, just as it did in the Jim Crow era.

    Ross, Deuel. 2013. “Pouring Old Poison into New Bottles: How Discretion and the Discriminatory Administration of Voter ID Laws Recreate Literacy Tests.” Columbia Human Rights Law Review 45(2): 362–440.

  6. This collection of images reminds us of one of the most unabashedly disgraceful aspects of American history and the antiquated post-slavery racism that has continued to permeate in this country. Construction-era Jim Crow laws in the south were integrated in order to reinforce racial segregation in all public facilities under a banner of “separate but equal” status. Of course, the laws never truly made anyone equal but instead allowed status-quo racism to survive in the south and make it more difficult for former slaves to receive equality. The upper right political cartoon is satirizing the biggest issue associated with Jim Crow laws: the negative impact they had on the newly-granted right of all African Americans to be able to vote. Jim Crow laws were incredibly effective at limiting the voting power of the black community and even to this day, in some rural areas in the south, it’s hard to say with certainty whether they aren’t still in play…
    The cartoon shows a crow in overalls with a rifle sitting atop a ballot box. The title says “50 years. The Guardian, James Crow Esq.” while in the corner a man asks “I thought he was dead these many years?” and receives the response “only parts of him.” Voting laws aimed against black voters were some of the longest-thriving consequences of Jim Crow laws. It wasn’t until this passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that all legally sanctioned voting barriers between races were finally ended but even then, immense damage had already been done and a precedence of diluting minority votes was deep set. In the lower-right image, we see a copy of a literacy test from the state of Louisiana. Literacy tests were a very effective way of preventing black and poor white voters from making it to the polls. The wording in the literacy test is all very intentionally confusing and meant to be failed. The test also requires a 100% passing grade in order to vote and given a very strict time limit. Another way of disenfranchising black voters was through the use of a poll tax, as displayed from the image of the receipt in the center left image. The poll tax emerged in many states as a prerequisite for registering to vote through payment. However, in most states, the poll tax could be avoided entirely through various incarnations of the grandfather clause which effectively made it incredibly difficult to vote if you were a recently freed slave.
    The upper and lower left images display the resentment and opposition to these intense and disenfranchising voting laws. The lower image shows a house with various signs asking for “freedom” and “one man, one vote” and with a painted sentence of “COFO= freedom now.” That last statement is referring to the Council of Federated Organizations which was a coalition established in Mississippi which aimed to coordinate and unite black voters in order to get everyone registered in the state. Of course, there was opposition to this progress as we can see in the upper image of peaceful black protesters being countered by a white protestor holding a confederate flag. Sadly, this image still relevant in 2016 as some minority communities still find it difficult to vote and white communities are looking to keep it that way.

  7. Jim Crow laws were the legal basis of racial segregation in the southern United States. These laws were established in 1890 and remained in place until 1965. They maintained a “separate but equal” status for African Americans living in the south. The separate facilities provided for African Americans were much poorer than those provided for the white population, which provided a deeply systematic issue which would take years to overcome. These laws provided a foundation for the oppression of African Americans in the legal and social sphere. Separate literacy tests were given for whites and blacks, and the black vote only counted for a portion of what a white vote counted for. Poll taxes and documentation made it difficult for minority populations to vote due to their inability to access the resources needed. These laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but the systematic issue of racial segregation took years to before reaching full reconciliation, and the system is still placing minorities at a disadvantage. The Voting Rights Act dismantled legal segregation of voting rights in federal, regional, and local elections. This included the abolition of literacy tests which had provided limited access rights to minorities due to the poor quality of infrastructure provided for racial minorities under Jim Crow Laws. While these policies helped greatly in providing equality in legal circumstances, there are still lingering effects which could make it difficult for minority populations to vote.
    Voter ID laws are laws which require a person to obtain legal documentation before they are able to vote. Each state has a different policy on Voter ID laws, and some states do not require any sort of documentation in order to vote. While these laws may help to avoid fraudulent voting, current attempts to restrict voter participation extend to other minorities, like immigrants or recent felons. If someone has been convicted of a felon, they are ineligible to vote while incarcerated, on parole, or on probation. These members of society can reapply for their right to vote after two years, but the process can be subjective and many ex-convicts remain silenced. As far as immigrants are concerned, they may vote after legally obtaining documentation of their citizenship. While Jim Crow Laws were specifically targeting minority African American citizens, the current Voter ID laws target immigrants without citizenship. Compared with the rest of the United States, many of the states which have strict Voter ID laws are in the south, like Mississippi and Georgia. These laws target minority populations of Hispanics, Muslims, and other minority populations. The presidential election in 2016 reveals the muffled voice of these minority populations, and prejudice is still apparent. If the right of a member of a democratic society is challenged by their ability to vote, our system should be in question as a representative democracy. In the top right photo, we see black protestors standing next to a white man holding a confederate flag. I can’t help but to note the similarities from this photo in our society today. Sadly, there remain systematic discrepancies in our voting rights.
    http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx
    http://www.nonprofitvote.org/voting-in-your-state/special-circumstances/voting-as-an-ex-offender/

  8. America, in a historical sense, is always referenced as a place of opportunity and freedom. A great majority of immigrants as well as American citizens of various ethnic backgrounds would say otherwise. These individuals, whether they were born here or came in pursuit of a better life faced segregation, racism, and persecution just because of the color of their skin or the way they spoke. For a place that preaches freedom, America has done a poor job of demonstrating its own values.

    America has had a long history on regulating political participation. It began with only white men that could vote or pursue careers in politics. This privilege gradually extended to women and then to African Americans, and now to every registered American citizen starting at the age of 18. After slavery ended, many African Americans began slowly working their way into politics so that their communities voice may be heard and to protect their freedom. During Segregation in the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, Jim Crow Laws were set in place. This was a direct response of white people’s fear during Reconstruction that the black community would take their jobs and gain too much power and momentum in their movements forward towards equality. The Jim Crow laws were a method for white politicians to limit the black community in politics as well a social settings. The ruling “Separate but Equal” decided that the black community was allowed to have the same privileges as white people but must not be present in the same rooms. This resulted in many African Americans receiving sub-par education and very limited opportunity.
    Other Jim Crow Laws required literacy tests and poll taxes with various loopholes and trick questions. This barred the greater portion of the black community from voting, resulting in exactly the white community wanted: cutting the black community’s vocal chord.

    Recent-modern American history tries to sell the idea that we are in a time of equality. This is not quite the case. The ‘other’ has just been shifted to target different communities. These include but are not limited to Muslim’s, LGBT, Latino’s, women, and countless other minority groups. Modern Voter ID Law’s are not as transparently racially discriminatory but there is statistical evidence demonstrating that Latino and African American voters are more likely to be asked for photo ID before being permitted to vote, while White Voters are rarely asked. This racial profiling has become a component in deterring the some of the minority vote. The new voter ID laws however are almost incomparable to Jim Crow Laws. They were set in place with the intention to remove the black community from politics while the new voter ID laws are set in place to prevent illegal immigrants or any sort of voter fraud to occur. As any policy will have it flaws, it is here to protect the voice of our nation’s people and can and will be improved upon to ensure the laws do not impose on any citizens’ right to vote.

  9. “Black voter registration in Selma in 1965 was made virtually impossible by Alabama’s relentless efforts to block the black vote” so writes Ryan Haygood, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. These ‘relentless efforts’ included requiring black people to interpret entire sections of the Alabama Constitution, an impossible feat that even at one occasion failed a black man with a Ph.D. In direct response to Bloody Sunday, President Lyndon B. Johnson five months later signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.
    The disenfranchisement of the minority groups particularly of the black people in America is recorded in the troubled history of post slavery America. Under different names, not only the black but also the poor whites were disenfranchised from time to time. This phenomenon happened recurrently in the southern states. For example, the historical record reveals that to prevent newly freed Black people from voting after the Civil War, many state legislatures in the North and South tailored their felon disenfranchisement laws to require the loss of voting rights for offenses such as theft, burglary and receiving money under false pretenses, but not for robbery or murder.
    The history of ‘the right to vote’ in the US tells a story of the progressive extension of the franchise and sometimes restrictions of such franchise in the name of electoral reforms to target specific racial group. Following a brief period of stability during the Reconstruction when the Southern blacks won a measure of political and economic freedom, Southern states transformed the region and imposed legal segregation laws infamously known as Jim Crow laws.

    There are many historical examples of lawmakers manipulating rules governing voting procedures, and states continue to experiment with reforms to this day reforms, such as more stringent voter identification regulations, have been seen by some restricting access to the ballot in the buildup to the 2012 election. Voter ID laws are thought to discourage political participation, especially among groups that have been historically marginalized by the American political system.
    Following are some of the measures that were particularly installed to curb the rights of the newly freed black slaves in elections:
    Poll Taxes: Once the precedent was set by Georgia in 1871, other former confederate states followed the suit. By 1904 this measure reduced overall turn out by 16-28% and black turnout in half. (Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics, 67-8)
    Literacy Tests: The Southern states established literacy tests in 1890 to target the black voting population, the majority of whom were illiterate. To address the loss of white illiterate voters, these states enacted “grandfather clause” which would allow only those to vote whose grandfather had voted in an election before the civil war.
    Restrictive and Arbitrary Registration Practices: By requiring frequent re-registration, long terms of residence in a district, registration at inconvenient times (e.g., planting season), provision of information unavailable to many blacks (e.g. street addresses, when black neighborhoods lacked street names and numbers), and so forth the former confederate states made registration harder
    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 would become the game changer for universal suffrage. Signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, the act would eliminate legal barriers at the state and local level that prevented African-American citizens from exercising their right to vote. Among other things, the act eliminated literacy tests and provided for federal oversight of areas that were using tests to determine voter eligibility.
    The highly contested presidential election of 2000 would once again place the spotlight on how elections are conducted and Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002 which required states to maintain statewide voter databases and voters registering by mail to provide photo identification prior to voting. This decision would prove to be the basis for legislation in Indiana that would ultimately reach the United States Supreme Court thus paving the way for voter photo identification laws to be considered by many other states.

    The voter photo identification laws have created more difficulties to the citizens who lack government- issued identification will incur, including their inability to obtain certain forms of identification without incurring both travel costs and the potential expense of obtaining documents necessary to obtain a government-issued identification.

    In addition, the disenfranchisement of felons has led to the restriction of a considerable number of voters to be denied the right to vote. For example, The Sentencing Project Using new Census data on the voting age population, and adjusting for recent changes in state disenfranchisement laws, the study placed the number of disenfranchised ex-felons at 6.1 million. The study notes that less than a quarter of these people — roughly 23 percent of those unable to vote due to criminal records — are currently incarcerated. The study indicated that 77 percent of the disenfranchised live among us in our nation’s communities. Those who have completed their sentences number nearly three million and make up 51 percent of the disenfranchised. Citizens on probation for felonies account for over 1.1 million — about 18 percent of the total. Over half a million, comprising about eight percent of the total, are parolees.
    The study reveals that currently fourteen states disenfranchise only those currently in prison, while four states also include those released on parole. Disenfranchisement laws in 18 more states also cover former inmates out on probation, and 12 states include former inmates who have completed their sentences, including parole or probation. Only Maine and Vermont currently let inmates vote in their elections, and thus have no disenfranchised voters.

    Bentele G.K. and Erin E. O’Brien. Jim Crow 2.0? Why States Consider and Adopt Restrictive Voter Access Policies. American Political Science Association 2013 December 2013 | Vol. 11/No. 4
    Christopher Zoukis. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-zoukis/more-than-6-million-block_b_12533014.html (Accessed November 16, 2016).
    J. Morgan Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910 (Yale UP, 1974) and Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela Karlan and Richard Pildes, The Law of Democracy(Foundation press, 1998).
    Jim crow laws. (2004). In P. Cornelison & T. Yanak, The great American history fact-finder. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved from http://0-search.credoreference.com.library.uark.edu/content/entry/hmgahff/jim_crow_laws/0 (accessed November 16, 2016)

    Jinwood J. J. 2011. Geographies of Race in the American South The Continuing Legacies of Jim Crow Segregation. V. 51

    Rene R. Rocha1 and Tetsuya Matsubayashi. 2014. The Politics of Race and Voter ID Laws in the States: The Return of Jim Crow?. Political Research Quarterly V. 67(3) 666–679
    Ryan Haygood. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-haygood/the-voting-rights-act-at_b_9392372.html (Accessed November 16, 2016).
    University of Michigan. http://www.umich.edu/~lawrace/disenfranchise1.htm (accessed November 16, 2016)

  10. The disenfranchisement of the minority groups particularly of the black people in America is recorded in the troubled history of post slavery America. Under different names, not only the black but also the poor whites were disenfranchised from time to time. This phenomenon happened recurrently in the southern states. For example, the historical record reveals that to prevent newly freed Black people from voting after the Civil War, many state legislatures in the North and South tailored their felon disenfranchisement laws to require the loss of voting rights for offenses such as theft, burglary and receiving money under false pretenses, but not for robbery or murder.
    The history of ‘the right to vote’ in the US tells a story of the progressive extension of the franchise and sometimes restrictions of such franchise in the name of electoral reforms to target specific racial group. Following a brief period of stability during the Reconstruction when the Southern blacks won a measure of political and economic freedom, Southern states transformed the region and imposed legal segregation laws infamously known as Jim Crow laws.

    There are many historical examples of lawmakers manipulating rules governing voting procedures, and states continue to experiment with reforms to this day reforms, such as more stringent voter identification regulations, have been seen by some restricting access to the ballot in the buildup to the 2012 election. Voter ID laws are thought to discourage political participation, especially among groups that have been historically marginalized by the American political system.
    Following are some of the measures that were particularly installed to curb the rights of the newly freed black slaves in elections:
    Poll Taxes: Once the precedent was set by Georgia in 1871, other former confederate states followed the suit. By 1904 this measure reduced overall turn out by 16-28% and black turnout in half. (Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics, 67-8)
    Literacy Tests: The Southern states established literacy tests in 1890 to target the black voting population, the majority of whom were illiterate. To address the loss of white illiterate voters, these states enacted “grandfather clause” which would allow only those to vote whose grandfather had voted in an election before the civil war.
    Restrictive and Arbitrary Registration Practices: By requiring frequent re-registration, long terms of residence in a district, registration at inconvenient times (e.g., planting season), provision of information unavailable to many blacks (e.g. street addresses, when black neighborhoods lacked street names and numbers), and so forth the former confederate states made registration harder
    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 would become the game changer for universal suffrage. Signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, the act would eliminate legal barriers at the state and local level that prevented African-American citizens from exercising their right to vote. Among other things, the act eliminated literacy tests and provided for federal oversight of areas that were using tests to determine voter eligibility.
    The highly contested presidential election of 2000 would once again place the spotlight on how elections are conducted and Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002 which required states to maintain statewide voter databases and voters registering by mail to provide photo identification prior to voting. This decision would prove to be the basis for legislation in Indiana that would ultimately reach the United States Supreme Court thus paving the way for voter photo identification laws to be considered by many other states.

    The voter photo identification laws have created more difficulties to the citizens who lack government- issued identification will incur, including their inability to obtain certain forms of identification without incurring both travel costs and the potential expense of obtaining documents necessary to obtain a government-issued identification.

    In addition, the disenfranchisement of felons has led to the restriction of a considerable number of voters to be denied the right to vote. For example, The Sentencing Project Using new Census data on the voting age population, and adjusting for recent changes in state disenfranchisement laws, the study placed the number of disenfranchised ex-felons at 6.1 million. The study notes that less than a quarter of these people — roughly 23 percent of those unable to vote due to criminal records — are currently incarcerated. The study indicated that 77 percent of the disenfranchised live among us in our nation’s communities. Those who have completed their sentences number nearly three million and make up 51 percent of the disenfranchised. Citizens on probation for felonies account for over 1.1 million — about 18 percent of the total. Over half a million, comprising about eight percent of the total, are parolees.
    The study reveals that currently fourteen states disenfranchise only those currently in prison, while four states also include those released on parole. Disenfranchisement laws in 18 more states also cover former inmates out on probation, and 12 states include former inmates who have completed their sentences, including parole or probation. Only Maine and Vermont currently let inmates vote in their elections, and thus have no disenfranchised voters.

    Bentele G.K. and Erin E. O’Brien. Jim Crow 2.0? Why States Consider and Adopt Restrictive Voter Access Policies. American Political Science Association 2013 December 2013 | Vol. 11/No. 4
    Christopher Zoukis. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-zoukis/more-than-6-million-block_b_12533014.html (Accessed November 16, 2016).
    J. Morgan Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910 (Yale UP, 1974) and Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela Karlan and Richard Pildes, The Law of Democracy(Foundation press, 1998).
    Jim crow laws. (2004). In P. Cornelison & T. Yanak, The great American history fact-finder. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved from http://0-search.credoreference.com.library.uark.edu/content/entry/hmgahff/jim_crow_laws/0 (accessed November 16, 2016)

    Jinwood J. J. 2011. Geographies of Race in the American South The Continuing Legacies of Jim Crow Segregation. V. 51

    Rene R. Rocha1 and Tetsuya Matsubayashi. 2014. The Politics of Race and Voter ID Laws in the States: The Return of Jim Crow?. Political Research Quarterly V. 67(3) 666–679
    Ryan Haygood. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-haygood/the-voting-rights-act-at_b_9392372.html (Accessed November 16, 2016).
    University of Michigan. http://www.umich.edu/~lawrace/disenfranchise1.htm (accessed November 16, 2016)

  11. Voter suppression under Jim Crow laws proved very effective in limiting the number of votes by African Americans. Included in the above images are just some of the methods used by states. While under Jim Crow laws, colored individuals were stripped of any rights they may have had years previously, included is the right to vote. While the right to vote was still given in most circumstances, any way to circumvent that right was used by states to disallow black voters.
    Literacy tests, poll taxes, and the grandfather clauses being just a few. Literacy tests made it increasingly difficult for anyone without proper education to vote. Having a separate education than those of white and a despairingly vast difference in funding, these tests proved difficult. Poll taxes required payment to vote which further limited that of not only black voters who were poor but also poor whites. The grandfather clause provided a lee-way for those whose parentage were allowed to vote in the 1860s. Unfortunately, blacks had only been given the right to vote after 1870, when the Fifteenth Amendment was established. This clause allowed certain individuals (whites) to be exempted from the methods above (poll taxes and literacy tests). The third and last image depicts these methods.
    Regarding the reactions of colored individuals in response to these laws, you can take a look at the first image. You can see the second protests holding up a sign: “More than 300,000 Negros are denied vote” in what I am assuming to be Alabama at the end. Considering there is no time stamp, I have to wonder if this photo was taken sometime near the Selma to Montgomery marches. Other reactions can be seen in the fourth image. The word “COFO” refers to a Civil Rights Movement. I am assuming it is a meeting place for those in the movement.
    I believe the second picture describes current voter suppression today. The writings in the bottom corner of the cartoon remark on the fact that it has been 50 years since Jim Crow laws were abolished but it seems that some parts were able to stay alive. Unfortunately, that is the case. Currently, states like North Carolina just recently (this year actually) had some of their laws overturned. North Carolina, in an attempt to sway the vote, put down restrictions that disabled many to vote. A stricter ID law was put into place. Government issued IDs are a lot less common among minorities than whites. Mainly due to specific documentation required to obtain the IDs. The state had also decreased the hours of early voting which had been used by a good percentage of North Carolinians previously. Other methods included eliminating same-day registration and preregistration for those under the age of 18. While not only limited to those of color, voter suppression is not a thing of the past. It is a still a current issue and a big one. Jim Crow laws may have been abolished with the establishment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but states still seem to find some way to suppress individuals.

    “Voter Suppression in North Carolina.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Sept. 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/08/opinion/voter-suppression-in-north-carolina.html?_r.

  12. How can you claim that the flag in the first image is a symbol of your southern heritage and not include good times like we see portrayed here in this picture? The young man must just be remembering the good old days of his own heritage when the war of Northern Aggression took place. Or maybe it was later when the Klan used it at rallies along with their own banners and standards. The change the black men want is the right to vote; a simple thought today with our not quite so universal access to the vote.
    The lower image with the COFO sign is expressing the same basic idea that there should be one vote for every one man. This is not as sexist as it sounds and what was actually meant was one person one vote. This is combined with the word freedom because when based on the standard of white privileges in the US voting gave each person a voice in freedom. Without access to this voice the blacks (African Americans) did not have true agency or true freedom. Sure, they could no longer be owned, and were now supposed to have equal access to everything but if this did not include the vote then it is a moot point.
    Segregation still influences elections today as we see areas where DMVs are closed when many the population it served were minorities. Having to drive to the next county to get a state issued id is no different than having to pay an exorbitant fee to vote. We are seeing an increase in the requirements of identification to verify your right to vote and your identity even though voting is supposed to be an anonymous process.
    The poll tax receipt shows one of the many ways that Blacks and poor Whites were kept from voting. $1.50 was the price of a fancy silver spoon or a glass Pyrex baking dish. Either way this is an exorbitant price to pay for a right that should be free and without barrier. Even if the individual in question could afford the tax which was rare they might also have to face the test shown in the image on the right. There are many problems that would be insurmountable to the average poor undereducated or uneducated black voter. If the person was lucky they had gone all the way through the fifth grade, this was probably quite common among whites but never occurred among blacks. So, since you did not make it to the fifth grade you must take this silly test and cannot get even one question wrong or you fail.
    The instruction of draw a line around the (item) is interesting because they also use the instruction of circle later in the test. Each question is strange and they get harder as they go so even if you figure out what each one wants and answer it correctly you would still have the ten-minute time limit to deal with. This of course is only one example of a poll test, others were so difficult that a political law professor might have a difficult time. Many of the tests did allow for incorrect answers but often these tests were more difficult so the applicant or future voter was still doomed to fail.

  13. Since early hunter gatherer groups, humans have ruled by consent from the masses. Once a tribe was large enough to need central leadership, the chief and other leading positions were chosen because the tribe thought them most knowledgeable and best fit to make calls for all of them. Yet often in history the privilege of a voice in deciding authority figures narrowed quickly to include only other influential individuals such as hereditary positions (House of Lords), men of wealth, warlords etc. Over many centuries the common man has progressively taken more power back into his hands in many regions of the world, however in the modern era the struggle to have your voice heard still remains for some. Even in a country that prides itself on its democratic system, the United states has never had a government of all the people for all the people.
    As the Civil War concluded, the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery, but for blacks this only opened the gate to the road to freedom. Tens of millions of freed black slaves were now finally starting their own lives in an area where their neighbors used to own them. This alone meant social acceptance would likely be slow coming, but especially so if they cannot vote for changes with the immediate emergence of Jim Crow Laws.
    The Fifteenth amendment declared it illegal to deny someone the right to vote based on race, color or previous slave condition so instead other state and county laws were put in place to disenfranchise African-American citizens from voting that did not officially designate color. One such was the clever combination of literacy tests with the Grandfather Clause exception. Many counties required a person to pass a literacy test to cast a vote for an election. The rationale given was that a person participating in making decisions for the whole community ought to have taken the responsibility to get an education to make logical choices. Nearly all blacks had been slaves or their parents had been and so extremely few were literate but in the agricultural south at this time many whites worked their farms and did not attend school either and were not literate. Fortunately for only one party, along came a piece of legislation to enfranchise a large portion of those illiterate; the Grandfather clause rationalized that if a person had a grandparent that voted in a previous election then surely that family educated their children and time need not be wasted on a literacy test. Problem was, no southern blacks were able to skip the tests because all of their grandparents had been slaves! As if this didn’t disenfranchise enough black citizens, the literacy tests themselves were written and graded to trip up even literate people. Most questions had confusing instructions or multiple steps to increase chances of a mistake, and were graded to disqualify for any sin at all.
    Another Jim Crow voter law used in other counties (or sometimes in conjunction) was the requirement of poll taxes upon casting a vote. In 1932 this poll tax receipt confirms a payment of $1.50. Does this sound so cheap as to be inconsequential? At that time a hamburger was five cents. My great-grandfather only two years prior was paid for a 12hr day’s work with a one-dollar coin one day that he flipped it up in the air from joy, missed the catch and had dropped it down a ground crack never to be seen again. That was a price much too steep for poor black families already struggling to find sustaining jobs where whites owned the markets and businesses.
    Voter suppression of African Americans due to Jim Crow laws was finally put to death with the Civil Rights Act(1964) and Voting Rights Act(1965) though they reportedly took up to a year in some areas to fully take effect. Disenfranchisement is still a prominent topic in U.S. voting discussion. Time will tell what will develop of voter identification laws, incarceration and parole policies, and immigration/citizenship status.

  14. The photos display the extremity and origin of segregation laws that took place starting in 1877 to 1960s. The Jim Crow laws were regulations put in place that suppressed people of color in many socioeconomic aspects of live from the bus station, waiting rooms, schools, and even voting booths. People of color were often subject to tests like the photo above on the right, a Literacy Test. While most people even at the college age couldn’t complete the test, neither could “suspected” illiterate people that were encouraged to voice their opinion at the polls.

    The photo in the middle on the left is an example of how the Jim Crow laws were not only racial, but caste-like. The receipt of a poll tax is shown to display the level of inequality in terms of who would be able to afford to vote. These attempts to hinder the poor or minority vote was put in place by the white authority out of irrational fears. Prior to the Jim Crow laws, the fact that slaves were only worth 3/5ths vote says a lot about where these regulations derived from. How dehumanizing is that to not only limit those from voting, but to suggest that one person’s vote based on their skin color is worth more than another.

    More recently, we have seen voter suppression since the 1990s, where entire black precincts were unanimously not accounted for during elections. In 2016, there is a common phenomenon about a provisional ballot, which can often be given to suspected voters, elderly, minority, and/or anyone that may be of reason to question their ballot. This has been an alarming effort to disenfranchise voters from certain backgrounds. There has also been efforts to eliminate DMVs in states such as Alabama and Georgia therefore, limiting access to registered state identification.

    One may also argue, that as the Republican continue to hold leverage in the house, they will continue to keep this power if things are not changed at the grass roots level i.e. acknowledging the voting system needs to be readdressed, critiqued, and corrected through continued research and speculation. By accepting the new norm, this will only adhere to the picture at the top right where regulations such as Jim Crow laws are put into place and deemed admissible.

    http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/what.htm/
    http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/1-segregated/jim-crow.html

  15. From the 1880’s to the 1960’s, Jim Crow laws plagued the lives of African Americans. This included segregation, voter suppression, and the infringement of civil rights of minorities. The ways in which votes were suppressed involved many different processes and although these laws have been removed since 1965, there are arguments that the current voter ID laws still suppress voter rights. The top right image is an example of this opinion, showing a cartoon character, symbolizing Jim Crow law, guarding a ballot box 50 years after the laws were removed.
    The middle-left image and the bottom right image are both examples of voter suppression. The middle-left image shows a poll tax receipt for $1.50. At the time, that was a decent amount of money, something that most segregated African Americans did not have, discouraging black voters. The bottom right image shows one of the ridiculous ways that prevented African Americans from voting. The literacy test shown, is a complicated test to be down in ten minutes. While an uneducated voter might have a hard time reading the question, the test is even harder because the questions are designed to trick the person. If one question was incorrect, then the voter failed and could not vote. These are only two examples of the multiple ways that block voters were suppressed. The results of this suppression resulted in very low turn outs for the black vote. For example, in 1900 in Louisiana, there were only approximately 5,000 black voters. The number dropped even further in 1910 to approximately 700 registered black voters.
    Eventually this suppression was countered by protests and movements. The top and bottom left images are examples of this movement. The top image shows African Americans peacefully protesting holding signs, one that reads, “More than 300,000 negroes are denied vote in Alabama.” The bottom image shows a house that supported the COFO. The COFO, Council of Federated Organizations, was a coalition of national and regional organizations engaged in civil rights activities in Mississippi. These protests and movements allowed the African American voice to be heard and eventually by 1965 both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were signed and the Jim Crow Laws were removed.

  16. Voting restrictions have reemerged to some, but they have been constant in every election. The 15th amendment which states that “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” served as a stepping stone but many states discovered loop holes in the Constitution. The Federal Government faced major backlash from State and Local government even after the ratification of this amendment on February 3, 1870. Local government came together to create a group of laws to still segregate their community which were given the name the Jim Crow laws.

    These laws became apparent with the segregation of schools and transportation, but in order to keep these laws active these communities needed to make sure that their political representives stayed in office to continue to enact these laws. These local governments created voter restrictions that bypassed the 15th amendment by allowing citizens to vote equally, but these restrictions affected people of color the most and not allowing them to vote. In order to vote in these communities, you had to pass a literacy test to which most African Americans couldn’t read or write, but back then a lot of White Americans couldn’t especially in the deep south. These illiterate citizens were assessed to see if they could at least understand what was read to them, which the majority of illiterate white people passed due to the majority of assessors were white. Another way that these communities restricted voting rights was to apply a poll tax to those that voted. These taxes were too high for African Americans to pay because most lived in poverty at the time.

    One major way that these communities restricted the voting rights of African Americans was the concept of the “Grandfather Clause”. It states that if you are a descendent of a family member that had the privilege to vote before 1867, that you as well have “acquired” that right as well. If you are a lineal decedent you would be exempt from educational, property, or tax requirements for voting. This pretty much eliminates black voters and allows illiterate non-property owning whites to vote. These Voting Laws came to an end in 1965 when Congress passed the Right to Vote Act. Polling taxes became illegal and millions of African Americans started voting as a result.

    There are still laws that differ from state to state that still restrict citizens from voting. Voter ID laws require voters to show one or multiple forms of identification in order to cast ballot these include; driver’s license, military id, birth certificates, student ID, and even bank statements. These voter ID laws enables American citizens the right to vote. The fact that the voting process is becoming such a hassle, it is deterring minorities and first-time voters to even cast a ballot.

    http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/4-five/five-communities.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/struggle_congress.html
    http://abhmuseum.org/voting-rights-for-blacks-and-poor-whites-in-the-jim-crow-south/
    http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx

  17. Voting restrictions have reemerged to some, but they have been constant in every election. The 15th amendment which states that “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” served as a stepping stone but many states discovered loop holes in the Constitution. The Federal Government faced major backlash from State and Local government even after the ratification of this amendment on February 3, 1870. Local government came together to create a group of laws to still segregate their community which were given the name the Jim Crow laws.

    These laws became apparent with the segregation of schools and transportation, but in order to keep these laws active these communities needed to make sure that their political representives stayed in office to continue to enact these laws. These local governments created voter restrictions that bypassed the 15th amendment by allowing citizens to vote equally, but these restrictions affected people of color the most and not allowing them to vote. In order to vote in these communities, you had to pass a literacy test to which most African Americans couldn’t read or write, but back then a lot of White Americans couldn’t especially in the deep south. These illiterate citizens were assessed to see if they could at least understand what was read to them, which the majority of illiterate white people passed due to the majority of assessors were white. Another way that these communities restricted voting rights was to apply a poll tax to those that voted. These taxes were too high for African Americans to pay because most lived in poverty at the time.

    One major way that these communities restricted the voting rights of African Americans was the concept of the “Grandfather Clause”. It states that if you are a descendent of a family member that had the privilege to vote before 1867, that you as well have “acquired” that right as well. If you are a lineal decedent you would be exempt from educational, property, or tax requirements for voting. This pretty much eliminates black voters and allows illiterate non-property owning whites to vote. These Voting Laws came to an end in 1965 when Congress passed the Right to Vote Act. Polling taxes became illegal and millions of African Americans started voting as a result.

    There are still laws that differ from state to state that still restrict citizens from voting. Voter ID laws require voters to show one or multiple forms of identification in order to cast ballot these include; driver’s license, military id, birth certificates, student ID, and even bank statements. These voter ID laws enables American citizens the right to vote. The fact that the voting process is becoming such a hassle, it is deterring minorities and first-time voters to even cast a ballot.

    http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/4-five/five-communities.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/struggle_congress.html
    http://abhmuseum.org/voting-rights-for-blacks-and-poor-whites-in-the-jim-crow-south/
    http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx

  18. Jim Crow Laws were a series of laws which main purpose was to disenfranchise people of color (African Americans). Through these laws northern United States made sure that things were done according to their way of thinking in the south. Disenfranchisement through Jim Crow Laws took place from 1900 until approximately 1965. The laws were applied in the deep south in states such as: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. This system not only prevented African Americans from voting but also white poor people.

    According to the America’s Black Holocaust Museum there were several ways of keeping people from voting. African Americans who tried to exercise their right to vote received death threats and sometimes they were beaten. Whites who were in charge of handling power at that time used violent ways to prevent people of color from voting.
    Illiterate people were not allowed to vote. To be able to proof that people were illiterate or not, literacy tests were created. People who could understand what was being read to them could vote. If an African American was able to approve a literacy test then they were allowed to vote. In some cases, it was up to the official discretion whether an African American could vote even if he had previously approved the literacy test. In more strict places even if the African American had passed the literacy test he/she was not allowed to vote.

    To be able to vote, the voter had to proof that he/she owned a property. There was a clause called the grandfather clause, which meant that if someone could not read or write but had a grandfather who voted before 1867 that person could vote. It is clearly obvious that this law was only going to apply to illiterate white people and the reason why is because before 1867 African Americans could not vote.

    Officials would sometimes take people’s names off the voter’s list at the voting centers. These measures used to affect in most the cases African Americans. Voters would go to their voting centers and when they arrived they realized that they were not registered to vote. To be able to register to vote they had to wait until the election process was over.

    Poll taxes was another way of impeding people in general to vote. This was a 20 to 50 dollars tax that people had to pay in order to be eligible to vote. This measure affected whites and African Americans.

    Nowadays most of these laws are abolished. However, there are some limitations that have arisen when it comes to voter ID laws. Voter ID laws differ from state to state. It is the state who decides which form of ID is valid when it is the time to vote. In some states military ID’s are accepted at the time of voting. Most of the states require a government issued ID. In order to get a government issued ID the person has to have documents such as a birth certificate or a marriage certificate if the person is married. This has an impact on poor, old and young minority voters who do not have the modes of transportation to do all of this paper work.
    There are several states that do not allow incarcerated people to vote, unless the person in jail makes a on time petition to the governor to vote.

  19. Jim crow laws were designed to limit the black population from voting after the civil war, as a means to still stay legal for the United States, by claiming that they could vote. However, it was quickly realized that the Jim Crow laws were created as a loop hole to letting the African Americans vote. To do this states would issue certain literacy tests, which you had to pass in order to vote, or prove that you had an elementary education. They would also give white citizens a separate, much easier test to take, and gave the former slaves a much more difficult and practically impossible test. Another way around letting black citizens from voting was the grandfather clause, which stated that if your grandfather voted before the 1860 election, then you would be allowed to vote. Of course majority of the southern black electorate could not vote back then, so this further limited the powers of voting that African Americans could vote.

    Currently, there is a growing number of voter suppression occurring. For example, DMV locations have been shutting down in more rural parts of the south, limiting the chance people have to register to vote for an upcoming election. If the citizen can’t register then they can’t vote. These DMV’s are also located in primarily in heavily concentrated African American regions of the south. Thus when it comes to election time, people have to drive long distances to vote or just can’t vote at all. Another trend of limiting voters is the voting ID laws being passed around the country, requiring a driver’s license or another form of government identification and in order to get one, a person needs either a birth certificate, marriage license or another form of paper work that isn’t readily available. Especially to rural or more older citizens.
    -Shelby Plichta

  20. Pingback: Analysis of Jim Crow & Voter ID Laws – Jamie Nix

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s