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by Jim Hightower
THE NEW POLL TAX
Anyone younger than 40 will not
remember that many Americans mostly in the South used to have to pay to vote. It
was called the "poll tax," and the unvarnished purpose of this $1.50 assessment
was to price poor people (especially poor African-Americans) out of the voting
But the Supreme Court struck down this ugly economic barrier to
the ballot box in 1966, so that was that, right? Wrong! Never underestimate the
creativity of the right-wingers and selfish money powers who're determined to
keep poor folks down in order to keep themselves on top.
Georgia know has
taken the lead in this modern-day race to the political bottom. Led by a
know-nothing piece of nastiness, Gov. Sonny Perdue, the Republican Majority in
the legislature has pushed through a new law taxing poor people who want to
vote. Their law requires that anyone without a drivers license must pay $20 for
a state ID card in order to get into a voting booth. Guess which groups in
Georgia are least likely to have drivers licenses? The poor, the Black, and the
elderly or all of the above.
Well, says Governor Sonny, this is all
about the sanctity of the vote stopping ineligible people from getting into the
booth. Yet, Georgia's top election official says she can find not even one case
of such fraud in recent years. Instead, most voter fraud involves absentee
ballots, which tend to be cast by Republicans. Guess what? Absentee voters are
not covered by the new ID requirement.
Even uglier, the state is not
selling its voter ID cards in areas where poor, Black, and elderly folks mostly
live so they would have to travel out-of-county to buy one. The city of Atlanta,
for example, has no location selling the cards!
This Jim Hightower
saying... Georgia's ID law is a disgraceful, un-American act of voter exclusion.
If it stands, you can expect this revived poll tax to come to your state. To
fight it, call the ACLU: 1-888-567-ACLU.
"Georgia's New Poll Tax," The New York Times, September 12, 2005.
(c) 2005, Copyright - Saddleburr Productions, Inc.
This essay is herein reprinted with the author's
Posted October 05, 2005
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