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10.2b Literacy tests

Voters were required to be able to read any section of the Constitution, or to understand and give a reasonable interpretation of a section read out to them. Such literacy tests were administered in a discriminatory manner: while the African Americans were asked to interpret more complex passages, the whites were given fairly simpler ones.

10.2c Good Character tests

An endorsement of their "good character" from two or more registered voters had to be provided by aspirant African-American voters in the South.

10.2d Grandfather clause

This clause was often used together with the literacy tests. It provided that a person could qualify under the first alternatives which was out of the question for the African Americans whose ancestors had been slaves, and who had not been thus able to vote.

Present day voters have five general voting requirements concerning citizenship, residence, age, literacy and registration. Thus native Americans were empowered to vote by an act of Congress in 1924, which made them citizens of the United States. By 1952, the Congress was able to overturn laws denying citizenship to Asian immigrants.

However, registration requirements create difficulties for those who do not have an address. Though churches provide cubbyhole addresses to some of the homeless, many of them do not have the right to vote. Similarly students living for most of the year, away from their home, can only vote through an absentee ballot, owing to state and local residency requirements. So while they do get the right to vote, they have no say over the political proceedings in the place where they spend the major part of their year.


10.0 - Introduction
10.1 The Expansion of Suffrage
10.2 Obstacles to Voting
10.3 Voter Turnout
10.4 Voting Choices
10.5 Getting Nominated and Compaigning for Office
10.6 Electing Candidates to Office

Chapter 11

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