Missouri's Black History Month gift: Voter ID bill
The Kansas City Star
The Republican-heavy Missouri legislature’s Black History Month gift to the state resurrects old Jim Crow days and ways for African Americans.
Republican lawmakers in this former slave state are pushing a voter identification bill. The Missouri Legislative Black Caucus is right to oppose it, saying it will “disenfranchise and suppress” the vote from minorities, young people and disabled voters. Rep. Brandon Ellington compared the legislation to a poll tax, The Kansas City Star reports.
Blacks had to pay the fee to vote while whites did not. That was in addition to literacy tests and grandfather clauses that were used in the 19th and 20th centuries to keep African Americans away from the polls. That’s in addition to violence and lynchings.
On literacy tests, black people had to be able to prove they could read nearly impossible passages. White voters did not have to prove they could read at all.
Blacks also may have been asked to show that their grandfathers were free men and able to vote in order to cast ballots. Because many blacks’ grandfathers had been slaves, they were excluded from voting. Whites did not have to undergo such scrutiny.
What incredible black history lessons during Black History Month!
Courts have struck down voter ID laws in Missouri and some other states, saying they disproportionately and negatively affect minorities, the elderly and others because they impose an unfair hardship on them.