This information is available on a website, Poll Tax - United States American History (www.us-history.com/pages/h425.html.
The poll tax was used in the South during and after Reconstruction as a means of circumventing the 14th Amendment and denying civil rights to blacks. This form of taxation gradually fell out of favor in the South in the mid-20th century, but it was not until the adoption of the 24th Amendment that poll taxes were made illegal as a prerequisite for voting in federal elections. That same prohibition was later extended to all elections.
Poll taxes are a thing of the past and thankfully so. Their intent was to prevent poor people, black and white, from voting in federal elections, but blacks were the primary target of those laws in Southern states. I instinctively recoil from any impediment to American citizens being able to vote for candidates of their choice.
Special sanctions were placed on those southern states that used whatever means possible to prevent black Americans from voting. It was actually a completely pragmatic decision to do that aside from any racial animosity, which was certainly prevalent prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Whites in those states who held political power knew that there were so many blacks in the South that if they were permitted to vote they would wrest power from the hands of white leaders.
But today I am dismayed by the efforts of The Democratic Party to make it possible for anyone to vote without proof of identification being confirmed by a photograph. The Obama Administration is suing some states, claiming that mandating voter ID is discriminatory and intended to prevent minorities, traditional Democratic Party supporters, from voting. That argument is specious and will not pass Constitutional muster.
In 2005, the Justice Department approved a Georgia law with the same provisions and protections of the one Eric Holder rejected for South Carolina. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board that an Indiana law requiring photo ID did not present an undue burden on voters. No matter how the DOJ suit is decided, I predict that voter fraud will be widespread.
The Holder DOJ is attempting to penalize states for practices that have been abolished since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Holder knows this, but he is using the power of his office to achieve a political objective. That is disgraceful, but par for the course when it comes to Eric holder.
Given my negative view of poll taxes or other impediments to legitimate voters, it is uncomfortable to consider a possible solution to a problem that creates one step before being permitted to vote. People should be required to demonstrate at least a rudimentary knowledge of who their elected representatives are.
It should be mandatory for voters to know that voting is a privilege that carries with it a responsibility. People living in dictatorships around the world are denied the right to vote Many have died attempting to gain the vote. Our military has been fighting and dying to preserve that right for Americans.
But in spite of that there are Americans who do not even know who the governor of their state is. They don’t know who their senator or their representatives in Congress are. They don’t know that George Washington was our first president. But these same people can tell you whether their favorite celebrities take cream with their coffee.
That is a national disgrace. It should not be tolerated. Anyone who is that ignorant about the political process that will determine whether the democratic Republic the Founders gave us survives, should not be permitted to vote. I am certain that some people will take offense at that proposal. I can understand that. But truthfully, I feel compelled to say it.
America is at a critical point in its history. Whether this country survives as a free nation depends on the coming elections. Political illiterates, especially those who can provide chapter and verse on entertainers or their favorite athletes, should not be permitted to jeopardize the future of America by voting on issues they have no understanding of.