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Reply #32: Are Long Lines the New Poll Tax? [View All]

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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
Did Rachel Maddow mean to suggest racism in naming long polling place lines as the new poll tax? After all, poll taxes were abolished in 1964 by the Civil Rights Act, which ended a mechanism of vote suppression dating back almost a century.

After the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870 (The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridgedon account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.) the South reacted with intimidation of black voters through violence. Within a few years poll taxes were enacted, very effectively disenfranchised the great majority of blacks, who could not come up with the cash that the tax required them to pay in order to vote.

Today, intentional vote suppression is illegal. So why would Maddow refer to long lines as a poll tax? Arent lines just a bureaucratic snafu, the inevitable consequence when voter turnout overruns predictions and an under-prepared county election apparatus struggles to cope?

Maybe not. Two generations after the Civil Rights Act, long lines at polling places show a striking correlation with the percentage of African-Americans in the voter population. States with a greater African-American population had more reports of long lines.

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