Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The New Poll Tax?

A poll tax, is a capital tax levied equally on every adult in a community. Poll taxes enacted in Southern states between 1889 and 1910 with the sole purpose of disenfranchising African-American's because payment of the tax was a prerequisite for voting. Some were even subjected to literacy tests. By the 1940's some of these taxes had been abolished, and in 1964 the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution disallowed the poll tax as a prerequisite for voting in federal elections. In 1966 this prohibition was extended to all elections by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that such a tax violated the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

More than 50 states have enacted laws which require state issued I.D. in order to vote. Such a requirement will disproportionately affect the elderly, the poor and minorities. Many of whom cannot afford to pay the fees associated with acquiring a state issued I.D. This is nothing more than another mean spirited attempt by the GOP to taking away or hamper the voter turn out. No if's, and's, or but's about it. Their motives are crystal clear. This week Virginia passed a voter I.D. law under the guise of stopping voter fraud. But in the common wealth of Virginia there has only been 1 case of voter fraud since the year 2000.

There are many in the Black community who feel that these tactics are reminiscent the poll taxes in the days of Jim Crow, and they are absolutely right. But unlike the Jim Crow south, here in 2013 we have opportunities that were unheard of in the 40's, 50's & 60's, many of which, people spend their last dime to enjoy, or stand in line for.
So, besides the sheer principal of it, I fail to see why acquiring a state issued I.D. presents such a hardship unless the individual is elderly, or incapacitated.

Lets be honest. Expensive automobiles, and $200 sneakers are not uncommon sights in many urban areas. If just a small portion of the money wasted on nonessential's were reallocated to fund things that mattered, such as, purchasing a state issued I.D., would not be an issue.

I understand the principal of the argument, and I believe that the right to vote should not be hindered, or prohibited in any way. Any laws passed to do so are baseless, racist, and an obvious attempt to exclude certain segments of the population from the voting process.
I get it. But anything that is worth the effort is worth the time, and anything that is worth the time is worth the money. Life is full of obstacles that we must overcome. It is up to us to decide not only how to overcome them, but whether we actually want to.


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