They are also the poorest, and least educated. Plus, they take way more money from the Federal government than they pay into the system.
How soon we forget..
Up until 1965, most African Americans were not allowed to vote in the South. White people in power used many methods to keep Black people from voting. Some of these methods prevented poor White people from voting as well.
Here are just Eight Ways People Were Kept From Voting..
1. Violence: Blacks who tried to vote were threatened, beaten, and killed. Their families were also harmed. Sometimes their homes were burned down. Often, they lost their jobs or were thrown off their farms.
Whites used violence to intimidate blacks and prevent them from even thinking about voting. Still, some blacks passed the requirements to vote and took the risk. Some whites used violence to punish those “uppity” people and show other blacks what would happen to them if they voted.
2. Literacy tests: Today almost all adults can read. One hundred years ago, however, many people – black and white – were illiterate. Most illiterate people were not allowed to vote. A few were allowed if they could understand what was read to them. White officials usually claimed that whites could understand what was read. They said blacks could not understand it, even if they could.
3. Property tests: In the South one hundred years ago, many states allowed only property owners to vote. Many blacks and whites had no property and could not vote.
4. Grandfather clause: People who could not read and owned no property were allowed to vote if their fathers or grandfathers had voted before 1867. Of course, practically no blacks could vote before 1867, so the grandfather clause worked only for whites.
5. All-white primary elections: In the United States, there are usually two rounds of elections: first the primary, then the general. In the primary, Republicans run against Republicans and Democrats run against Democrats. In the general election, the winner of the Republican primary runs against the winner of the Democratic primary. The Republican or Democrat who gets the most votes is elected.
In the South from about 1900 to about 1960, the Democratic candidates usually won. Republicans were almost never elected, especially in the Deep South. This means that the Democratic primary election was usually the only election that mattered.
African Americans were not allowed to vote in the Democratic primary elections. White Democrats said the Democratic Party was a “club” and did not allow black members. So blacks could not vote in the only elections that mattered.
6. Purges: From time to time, white officials purged the voting rolls. That means they took people’s names off the official lists of voters. Some voters would arrive at the polls and find that they were not registered to vote. Often they could not register to vote again until after the election. Purges more often affected blacks than whites.
7. Former prisoners: People who had gone to prison were often not allowed to vote. Blacks were very often arrested on trumped-up charges or for minor offenses. Sometimes, white owners of mines, farms, and factories simply needed cheap labor, and prisons provided it. This law kept many more blacks from voting than whites.
8. Poll taxes: In Southern states, people had to pay a tax to vote. The taxes were about $25 to $50 dollars in today’s money. Many people had extremely low incomes and could not afford this tax. This poll tax applied to all people who wanted to vote – black and white. There were ways for whites to get around other laws, but not around the poll tax. Many poor whites could not vote because of the poll tax.
In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. Millions of African Americans began voting as a result. This Act is generally considered the end of the Jim Crow Era. Or so we thought.
Today’s Republican Party is using many of those same old dirty tricks..
• Former felons are not allowed to vote in most states. (Different states have different laws.)
• Purges of the voter rolls are still used to get rid of African American and Latino voters.
• Government-issued IDs, like driver licenses or special photo IDs, are now required in some states. This is similar to a poll tax. Here is why:
- To get this ID, people have to travel to special offices that are often far away from where they live. Many black, brown, and elderly people do not own cars.
- They must present birth certificates. Getting a copy of your birth certificate costs time and money (from $10-$45). More black and brown people than whites lack birth certificates, for a variety of reasons, such as being born at home.
- The housing foreclosure crisis has left many people homeless or with temporary addresses. You need a permanent address to get a voter ID. More African American, Latino, and poor white families have been affected by foreclosures than white middle-class families.
In these ways, many African American, Latino, elderly and poor white citizens are now forced to pay for their right to vote, as blacks were during Jim Crow.
The Right Wing message to the American People is clear..
“Jim Crow is alive and well.. WHITE POWER!”…