United States and Voting Rights Act Essay

Submitted By jesserupp
Words: 1127
Pages: 5

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was created to prevent discrimination towards a citizen’s right to vote. Initially it was set for 5 years and still to this day is active in our laws. Which then brings the question, is it still necessary to have this act in our current society? Yes, the U.S. still needs this act, without it we would have opportunity for discrimination towards economic class, intellectual ability and race. Each of these types of discrimination is all oddly connected. The act not only prevents discrimination but it also gives minority voters, specifically African Americans, the political power that for years they were rejected. Barrack Obama being elected president is one of best example of this. Removing this act would only risk discrimination to voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was created to prevent “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure ... to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” (OurDoc.gov) The unprovoked attack on March 7, 1965, by state troopers on peaceful marchers heading to the state capitol in Montgomery, provoked the President and Congress to take action. President Johnson issued a call for a strong voting rights law, which soon became the Voting Rights Act. Now with this understand of how the Voting Rights Act came to be you can begin to understand the ideas behind it. Towards voting rights, I believe discrimination can come in three forms, Class, Intelligence and race, and each are connected. I originally thought, how could someone be discriminated in voting because of there economic class? Well its simpler then I imagined. Poll taxes were created in certain states during the Jim Crow law era. After the ability to vote was granted to all races by the Fifteenth Amendment, many Southern states enacted poll tax laws as a means of restricting voters. Such laws often included the grandfather clause that allowed any adult male whose father or grandfather had voted in a specific year prior to the abolition of slavery to vote without paying the tax. (CRMVET) The way they created these poll taxes made an unequal right to vote for African Americans. The Voting Rights Act protected African Americans right to vote by making these tax polls unconstitutional, thus illuminating this form of discrimination. This being my first argument of why we very much still need The Voting Rights Act of 1965. Another way states were able to discriminate was against the intellectual abilities of the voters. The states created literacy tests, the tests were usually given by white local officials, who had complete discretion over who passed and who failed. Examples of questions asked of Blacks in Alabama included: “naming all sixty-seven county judges in the state, naming the date on which Oklahoma was admitted to the Union, and declaring how many bubbles are in a bar of soap.” (CRMVET) These ridiculous tests were given verbally and it was completely up to the official who could give bias questions to African Americans. This gave the officials a lot of power on deciding who would vote and wouldn’t. The literacy tests are just another example of how states can sway votes and cause an unequal right to vote. The tests are unconstitutional under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Once again I see no reason why we should reject the act today and create opportunity for chances similar to these to occur. The most important form of voter discrimination that the act prevents is discrimination in the form of race. With all of these arguments many may say we have come far from how things used to be based on race. But we cannot deny the fact that we are still far from a completely racially equal society. There is still racism thriving in communities, there is still signs of lesser opportunities for minorities, and there is absolutely still much we can do to bridge the gap towards equality.