Tactics thwart voter parity

The more obvious discriminatory acts such as literacy tests and poll taxes no longer exist, but have been replaced by acts that are under the radar.

Southern states primarily have engaged in legislation that would limit the power of minority voters, because acquisition of power is determined by the number of votes. The window to vote, gerrymandering or required hard-copy identification are but a few tactics. Polling sites have been moved for specious reasons so the targeted citizens who are affected by the relocation would have to go farther to vote.

Southerners are all too aware that such legislation would have a deleterious effect on blacks and Latinos in particular. For example, while relocating a polling site might not affect a majority of voters in a given district, it would have the effect of removing some from voting, particularly those who are elderly, in fragile health or who are without transportation. These are mean-spirited, low-level means of reducing the numbers of people of color who the conservatives know are extremely likely to vote a Democratic ticket.

Some would argue that a few states outside of the South have attempted to enact the same practices. This is true, but the real power of blacks lies in the Southern states. Texas and Arizona are Republican strongholds with a predominance of Latinos, but the greater number of blacks are in the South.

That Southerners are employing different tactics to achieve the same results of thwarting democracy compares to the Reconstruction period, when present-day Southerners’ 19th-century ancestors killed, beat and intimidated blacks to reduce their voting power. The qualities of intent and impact are identical. Only the tactics have changed. Therefore, I would submit that current conditions are different from 1865 only in methodology, not in impact.

 

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